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Settling in is all sewn up

A TAFE sewing course is helping Campbelltown resident Thiekra Abdullah adjust to life in Australia.

The 53-year-old, who fled to Australia from Iraq, is half-way through the eight week course at Focus Connect Campbelltown. 

“The sewing classes have helped so much in giving me a circle of friends in the community who are in a similar position to me,” said Ms Abdullah, pictured above. 

“Now when one of my four boys need a button sewn or to fix a hole in their pants, I have the skills to do it and I’m so proud of myself.”

TAFE NSW is helping recent arrivals to Australia like Thiekra Abdullah settle into their community through free courses, which have the added benefit of equipping participants with basic skills in fashion design.

The course is also part of a pathway into the Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields for those who wish to go deeper into a fashion career.

TAFE NSW teacher in fashion, Fiona Kemp, said the course has had a transformational change for the women participating. 

“These women not only learn the hands-on skills to use a sewing machine and sew their own garment, but they have made friends and met more people in the community, which is something TAFE NSW is proud to help with. 

“The workshops are designed to give women a taste of the skills they’ll learn in the Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology fashion course and give them the confidence and experience of participating in a class environment,” Ms Kemp said.

TAFE NSW also offers English language skills in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) funded by the Australian Government, which provides up to 510 hours of free English lessons and childcare to eligible migrants and refugees.

Students learn about Australian society, culture, customs and working in Australia.   

To find out more about the range of fashion courses on offer at TAFE NSW, visit or call 131 601

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