ESOL & skills courses for WW4RI project

Although it was initially planned to provide 4 courses with 90 guided learning hours for sector-specific training (such as Preparing to Work in the Hospitality Industry), the COVID19 pandemic and associated economic situation meant that this plan was no longer an option. Instead the Regional ESOL Lead developed 4 courses with 30 guided learning hours each that will be useful for anybody looking to enter the job market.

In addition to these ESOL and skills courses, beneficiaries have access to 2 other options. The first is the opportunity to gain a CSCS card for work in the construction industry (through Concept Training) and the second is business set-up support (through MENTA).

The 4 core curricula that will be useful to many beneficiaries are:

  • IT Skills,
  • Job Search Skills,
  • Study Skills and
  • Driving Theory.

These curricula are designed primarily to convey the skills that job seekers require to move closer to the job market in the UK. It is therefore a core principle that the participants will build their confidence levels and independence in order to find work for themselves during the course.

These courses are not accredited but each participant will receive a certificate of attendance. We also wish to signpost learners into other curricula in this suite, including our courses that will prepare people to work in a specific industry. Where relevant, learners can also be signposted to accredited, higher level, provision after completion.

Each curriculum consists of detailed lesson plans, worksheets and activities that are suggestions for the teachers to follow and adapt to the needs of the learners. Each ESOL provider will need to adapt the materials to the planned duration and method of delivery. This is particularly the case if delivery is online. These curricula have been developed with face-to-face delivery in mind. We recognise that the COVID19 situation has led to more online delivery so some adaptation may be required for online delivery.

It is vital that the ESOL providers work closely with the employment advisers to ensure that the learners receive comprehensive support that enables them to move closer to stable work. But for the ESOL teachers the key question is:

“How can I raise the confidence and independence of my learners in this lesson?”

 

There follows some more information on each of the 4 core curricula:

Study Skills

In addition to making telephone calls with employers, learning good study habits, using English outside the classroom, job interview practice, strategies for learning new words, time-keeping and diary management, we also look at other themes that are more important for general life, such as identifying with stories of success, talking about what people are good at and how they can tell people about themselves, setting goals for the next 5 years.

IT Skills

This course covers setting up and using Skype, WhatsApp, online learning systems such as Zoom and Canvas, basic email use, using browsers, websites and search engines, accessing online training such as FutureLearn, basic Word functions, online security for adults, finding and applying for jobs online

Job Search Skills

We introduce learners to where vacancies exist, practise completing application forms, produce generic and job-specific CVs, prepare cover letters, identify and practise answering competency-based questions, find and apply for jobs online and practise interview techniques.

Driving Theory

We introduce learners to each other, present stories of success and provide access to online and book learning materials; learners view a DVSA presentation on key laws and rules then we move on to study skills, e.g. how to learn new words. The majority of the course is practice using the DVSA “Safe Driving for Life” portal. This includes important elements of driving theory such as road signs and the rules of the road but also involves mock tests and practising the hazard perception elements.

CSCS cards & security guard training (Concept Training)

Concept Training will assist learners to pass the health and safety elements and obtain a CSCS card. As of summer 2021 they will also provide a course to get a security guard card (SIA) and intend to offer face-to-face courses to upgrade this to a door supervisor card in autumn 2021.

Business set-up (MENTA)

MENTA provides tailored 1-1 business advice and support through appointments with a dedicated advisor for participants on our Refugee Entrepreneur programme who wish to become self-employed and/or set up a business. Training covering business planning, marketing and bookkeeping is included within the support provided, along with assistance with developing a detailed business plan.

 

Preparing to Work...

Following on from the creation of the original 4 courses that were developed for WW4RI beneficiaries, the project team made the decision to return to the original plan of developing ESOL & skills courses to prepare people to work in specific industries.

However, reviewing the database of participants – which contained over 100 people in September and 170 by December 2020 – we realised that there were a large number of women who had never worked outside the home before. We therefore created a course to boost their confidence and give them a range of skills before considering a move into employment. This was achieved by adapting the Study Skills course to be less work-related and more suitable for this particular target group. Confident Women is offered exclusively to women and taught by women from January 2021 onwards.

Selecting the industries for our 60-hour courses (reduced from 90 hours) remained a challenge but after further analysis of the participants’ interests we made the following decisions:

  • We adapted the existing Preparing to Work in Hospitality course and, following feedback from the employment advisers, have now renamed it Preparing to Work with Food. Delivery is expected to start in summer/autumn 2021 when the hospitality industry may start to see some recovery. We also have a number of people interested in setting up food-based businesses so this could be a good starting point for them before progressing onto the business start-up course offered by MENTA through WW4RI.
  • In order to provide a progression path for women who have completed the Confident Women course and to fit in with many parents’ aspirations to find work that is flexible around childcare obligations, we now have in place Preparing to Work in Childcare. This course will assist anyone wishing to work in a nursery or school right through the age ranges. This course is open to both men and women.
  • There is no doubt that an industry experiencing growth at the current time is logistics and warehousing. In order to connect with government-promoted training schemes (Sector-based work academy programme: employer guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)), our Preparing to Work in Warehousing and Logistics course will remove the barriers to undertaking a Level 2 qualification through a SWAP training provider, which should lead directly into work or at the very least a guaranteed interview. Work in this industry is open to men and women and also operates with flexible working hours. There are numerous progression opportunities in this sector. So we believe that warehousing and logistics is a good fit for many of the WW4RI beneficiaries.
  • As of June 2021 and following feedback from the employment advisers, we have now developed our fourth and final course: Preparing to Work with Customers. This course is suitable for anybody preparing to work in a customer-facing role but does not include the food-specific elements of the Preparing to Work with Food course. Delivery is expected to start in autumn 2021.

For more information on these courses, please contact Gill Searl at gill.searl@eelga.gov.uk.