A BENDIGO program supporting Karen refugees into training and jobs has won a number of accolades at the Victorian Learn Local Awards.
Starting Work in Australia - Karen Engineering Studies, a program run by Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, took out four categories on Friday including innovation and partnership.
The services' community education coordinator, Robyn Matthews, also won the Pre-accredited Trainer Award.
Ms Matthews, who developed the Karen program, said it was incredible that the training was recognised.
"No one does what they do for the the accolades," she said. "You do it because you want to help your students.
"The common goal is to help members of the community find long term, sustainable employment outcomes. To have those outcomes recognised is a privilege more than anything."
The Multicultural Services' program was developed in 2019, with the first round of students starting last year.
The program provided bilingual support and numeracy and literacy skills to Karen refugees so they could complete a Certificate II in Engineering Studies at Bendigo TAFE.
"A lot of community members want to access TAFE but it's hard without mentoring or bilingual support," Ms Matthews said.
"It's a very innovative program. We're really happy to see where it takes us in the future. Hopefully the attention will help us secure funding so we can run more programs for the community."
Multicultural Services' chief executive Sonia Di Mezza said the program was a team effort.
"We're just delighted and proud by the hard work of our team and multicultural communities, which resulted in winning these awards," Mrs Di Mezza said.
For more information about the Victorian Learn Local Awards, visit vic.gov.au/learn-local-awards
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