A Blacktown Centrelink officer from Sierra Leone has repaid Australia for accepting him as a refugee by developing a new training program to help newly-arrived migrants to learn computer skills.
Multicultural service officer Sarjoh Bah said he was motivated to build migrants’ confidence in accessing Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services online.
He said the program was delivered over one month as part of Adult Migrant English Program at Macquarie Community College.
‘‘About 50 students have been involved in the course so far and most of those taking part have had limited access to computers and come from a background where there is strong mistrust of government,’’ he said.
‘‘The course has given people the information and skills they need to navigate the wide range of government services available to them.’’
Human Services Minister Kim Carr Sarjoh’s story illustrated how his department was providing help at a local level across the country.
‘‘This is a fine example of an officer who has taken the initiative to work with his community to find out what they need and how the government can help in a practical way,’’ he said.
Greenway MP Michelle Rowland said the program was particularly important in Blacktown with more than 32 per cent of the population coming from some 180 countries and speaking more than 154 languages.
‘‘Computer literacy and knowing how to access government services online can help new migrants to find work, access essential services and settle more quickly into Australia,’’ she said.