Colourful pins on a network diagramA special interest group of community organisations, education providers, students, services and other stakeholders have teamed up to ensure education opportunities are accessible for students from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds – helping them to build better lives in Australia.

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) Australia, Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), University of Newcastle, RMIT, Macquarie University, Swinburne, and Griffith University are working together to ensure greater collaboration and networks between institutions, practitioners, students and communities in order to achieve better educational outcomes for students from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, said the group would share best practice initiatives, research, interventions, programs and support mechanisms across the country to ensure young people had every opportunity to succeed.

“People from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds face significant barriers to pursuing further study. These barriers can diminish their employment prospects once a visa has been processed and can undermine what might otherwise be positive settlement outcomes,” Mr Power said.

“Building on the work that MYAN Australia and RCOA have undertaken to break down these barriers, this special interest group will share information about education pathways for students from all culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”

Nadine Liddy, MYAN National Coordinator, said the group will also advocate with and on behalf of students from refugee backgrounds on issues that affect their ability to access, engage with and transition from education successfully.

“This group will hold regular meetings to bring together a broad range of actors, including students, services and education providers from across Australia. We will share good practice and research findings as well as collaborate on targeted advocacy work,” she said.

“Young people, students and the services working with them, will be included in the group’s work, providing invaluable knowledge and experience to help us to create better education outcomes for people from refugee backgrounds.”

In addition to these more formal interactions, a web portal will keep member organisations in touch and up-to-date with the work going on in the sector. The special interest group website will go live on Monday 20 June as part of the World Refugee Day celebrations.

“Bringing these stakeholders and organisations together is a critical step in improving the education access that asylum seeker and refugee people need to build better lives in Australia,” Ms Liddy said.

The special interest group website will include information about and contacts for a range of people working within the education and refugee/asylum seeker environments. The site will also provide visitors with an opportunity to connect with others working in their state and territory, as well as an opportunity to get involved in the group’s advocacy work.

For more information please contact:
Alisha Taylor-Jones, Advisor
Diversity and Inclusion, RMIT
03 9925 3347