First dedicated English language testing centre opens in Sydney's west

Date: 06/10/2009

The University of Western Sydney's UWSCollege is launching the region's first dedicated English language testing centre in a move that will support Greater Western Sydney's migrant and refugee settlement programs and services for new arrivals.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Centre will be officially launched by Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement and Federal Member for Reid, The Hon Laurie Ferguson, at the UWS Westmead precinct. The opening ceremony will take place today, Tuesday 6 October, at 11am.

IELTS is an internationally accredited test for students who need to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language, and is recognised by education institutions, employers and government agencies.

UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janice Reid, says the new centre is yet another way in which the University is opening up opportunities and access to higher education for the people of Greater Western Sydney.

"Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveal that 34 per cent of people in the Greater Western Sydney region are born overseas and 29 per cent come from a non-English speaking background, which is a higher proportion than other parts of Sydney," Professor Reid says.

"The IELTS Centre will greatly assist new migrants, refugees and overseas students on the path to greater participation in the community, work and further education."

The CEO of UWSCollege, Dr Kerry Hudson, says the facility is the first dedicated IELTS test centre in Australia with permanent administration and testing spaces.

"The centre caters for about 350 candidates a session, and in a typical test the participant will sit through individual tests for listening, reading, writing and speaking," Dr Hudson says.

"What sets IELTS apart from other English language tests is the face-to-face speaking component, and the security and integrity of testing. The interactive component closely resembles a real-life situation, to really test the students' English language skills and proficiency."

UWSCollege has been providing English-language support to newly-settled migrants and refugees for over 10 years through its Adult Migration Education Program. The Westmead precinct was chosen as the location of the new IELTS Centre because of its proximity to public transport and its linkage to cities along the Western Sydney M4 corridor.

UWSCollege is a wholly owned entity of the University of Western Sydney, and offers academic pathways to the University, continuing education and professional development programs for Australian and International students.

WHERE: Building M, UWS Westmead Precinct, Hawkesbury Road, Westmead
WHEN: 11am until 12.30pm



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