Continuous Learning for Adults

SCARF’s Continuous Learning for Adults (CLA) Program targets both our refugee community and our volunteer network to offer opportunities for personal and professional development.

For refugee entrants

SCARF provides a range of learning support activities for refugee entrants, with thanks to the generous support of the Illawarra Master Builders Club.

Computer Literacy & IT SkillsStudent with computer

For many refugees, email and other online social networking tools are the most efficient and affordable way of communicating with family and friends ‘back home’, those still waiting in overseas refugee camps, and their new communities in the Illawarra.

One of SCARF’s most popular and most valued services is our IT Program. SCARF offers basic computer skills training and internet access at our centre. We also support refugees to access refurbished computers at a low cost through other local organisations.

Citizenship Studies

Volunteers provide individual home-based tutoring and group-based citizenship study classes to assist community members to apply for citizenship, practice for the test, and follow up on pending citizenship documentation.

Job-Readiness Skills

SCARF offers group workshops and one-on-one support to assist community members to prepare a professional CV, write cover letters, complete job applications, make scholarship applications, and prepare for job interviews.

In partnership with Kiama Community College, SCARF has developed a career skills survey for working people from refugee backgrounds to map existing skills, interests, qualifications and experience amongst refugee entrants. SCARF is using this data to plan initiatives to support skills-development, work experience, and employment for people from refugee backgrounds.

Vocational Training

SCARF supports people from a refugee background to gain accredited skills, licenses, and experience in technical fields including forklift operations, truck driving, hospitality, food safety and service, domestic cleaning, first aid, and aged care.

Life Skills

SCARF runs information and awareness-raising sessions about living in Australia, as needed. Topics include a practical understanding of Australian laws affecting daily life, health issues, child protection responsibilities, surf safety skills, and fire safety in the home.

English Language Skills

SCARF offers both formal and informal support for English language learners.

  • Our weekly Coffee & Conversations event provides an opportunity for social connection between volunteers and community members from diverse backgrounds whilst practising English listening and speaking skills.
  • Literacy and conversation classes are offered to meet the needs of English learners from Level 1-4 at TAFE and ESOL
  • Individual in-home tutoring and support is provided by volunteers on an as-needs basis.

Form-Filling Support

Filling in forms is one of the most common drop-in requests we get at the SCARF Office, as community members with weak English skills struggle to understand how to fill in a variety of forms, including Centrelink forms, rental applications, government housing applications, Opal card applications, school enrollment forms, and more. SCARF offers two designated Form Filling Drop-in sessions a week: Mondays and Fridays from 12-4pm.

When necessary volunteers additionally research online and ring specific service providers to assist people from a refugee background in finding information about how to properly fill in forms, and finding answers to questions, such as when following up on the outcome of a previous application.

SCARF has developed a number of How-to-Guides to assist volunteers and community members in filling out common forms, and continues to develop more of these guides to increase the efficiency of our form-filling service.

For Volunteers

SCARF provides training and development opportunities to volunteers to build knowledge and skills in working with refugee entrants.

STARTTS Training

SCARF partners with STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment & Rehabilitation of Torture & Trauma Survivors) to provide training to volunteers to gain a more in-depth understanding of the refugee resettlement experience, useful techniques when working with people who have a traumatic background, ‘accidental counselling,’ and self-care skills.

Workshops & Information Sessions

SCARF provides, or partners with others to provide, staff, volunteers, and community members with various workshops and information sessions to build an understanding of key services available in the Illawarra and the support provided to refugee entrants at various stages of the settlement process. This includes briefings from Navitas, IMS, Multicultural Health, Partners in Recovery, STARTTS, Centrelink, TAFE, Wollongong City Council, NSW Refugee Health Service, and Legal Aid.

“Support” Training

To enable SCARF to run targeted programs such as the Community Education program we provide specialised training to increase the capacity of volunteers. For example, in March 2016 the Refugee Council of Australia delivered a two-day training course to volunteer community educators to build a pool of volunteers who could be effective co-presenters for this program. An important part of the training was to ensure volunteers understood the importance of providing support to speakers from refugee background before, during, and after sharing their story to ensure that confronting information on the refugee experience is shared in a way that is safe and appropriate for the speaker and the target audience.

Think you can help by sharing your skills? Contact us to find out more about our needs.