The aim of the project is to support Syrian New Scots settled in North Ayrshire to build a life in Scotland. The focus of the project is Employability..
The programme set out to provide intensive English language support to integrate into North Ayrshire life and communities but also allow refugees to consider employment as a realistic medium to long term prospect. It also recognises the value of English learning within the context of skills development and appropriate work experience.
There were three key strands to the programme:
Intensive English language support
skills assessments and work experience employment opportunities
78 individuals have been settled in North Ayrshire. The WEA North Ayrshire ESOL and Employability project has successfully delivered ESOL and Employability learning opportunities targeting Syrian and Afghan learners, who are being resettled across North Ayrshire. The project has included adapting provision to enable the breaking down of barriers to learning resulting in enabling individuals to engage with a range of local services. We have supported learners towards being able to become more employable, while working on their personal journey to become economically active.
Early on in the project it was recognised that a holistic approach to learning was called for, due to the vulnerability of the learners. This has been achieved while supporting families as part of a wider team, to address a number of issues, which have arisen for some families. Throughout the project the promotion of integration into local life, with regards to increasing employability and community engagement has remained paramount.
An important part of the programme is a full assessment of individual’s previous experience, educational background, goals and aspirations. We have engaged an interpreter to assist with this process as learners do not have the language skills to participate in this process in English.
In some cases, learning how to learn has been identified as the first step towards increasing employability. This has taken precedence, as many learners have been away from education for some time. Indeed, it may be the first opportunity for some, to engage in education.
Literacy topics include:
• Classroom language
• Identifying and forming the English alphabet
• Identifying and forming basic numbers
• Identifying names and sounds of the letters of the English alphabet
• Increasing speaking and listening skills
ESOL skills for life in the UK topics include:
• Personal details
• Family and friends
ESOL skills for employability topics include:
• Work and interaction in the workplace
• The law and responsible citizenship
• Health and Safety
Improved their English language skills
Achieved SQA ESOL qualifications
Progressed into work
Progressed into work experience
Progressed into volunteering
Progressed into college
Passed their driving test