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In the news: Community partners come together to provide English lessons to Ukrainian refugees

Clarion Futures, Signpost and Basildon Council delivered a 10 hour 'Improve your English' course in Basildon to support Ukrainian refugees into employment in the borough.

Basildon Council's Advice Store provides residents with specialist employment support and has worked closely with Ukrainian refugees in the borough. Signpost is a charity based at the Advice Store which gives ongoing support to the unemployed to help them find work.

Referrals came to the Advice Store through the council's Community Engagement team with many of the clients being referred to Signpost. One barrier to employment they were facing was the difference in language. Previously there were no courses available that addressed the vocabulary needed for job applications, interviews or once in the workplace.

Clarion Futures is the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group that provide support, skills and employment opportunities and funded this series of lessons. Signpost were commissioned for delivery with employee Jenny Ibarra, Centre Manager being a qualified languages teacher. The teams worked together to create, write and deliver the programme to ensure that refugees can feel part of the community in Basildon.

Carol Anne Marsh, Clarion Futures Employment Support Officer said "This course was written to meet the needs of Advice Store clients who arrived in Basildon as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. The course provided support to improve spoken English and fluency, with a focus on preparing for work.

"The course has given refugees the opportunity to come together, network and gain the valuable experience that can support them into employment here in Basildon. It has been a great success and we hope to provide further courses in the future to continue to support our new residents."

Jenny Ibarra, Signpost Centre Manager said "I have first-hand knowledge of how hard it is when you move to a different country and have to learn the language. This motivated me to train as an ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) Teacher. I have over 11 years of experience in my native Spain which enabled me to structure this course.

I am so proud of all of our students, the improvement in their spoken English from the first class to the last is amazing. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing how confident they are and how good they felt after each lesson."

Cllr Anthony Hedley, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Business Engagement said "The Advice Store is a fantastic asset for the community and has widely supported refugees that have moved to the borough, ensuring they have everything they need to build a life here.

"The project is a great initiative and an example of community partners coming together to support residents. Well done to everyone involved in making it happen."

The Advice Store continues to offer support to the Basildon community and in the first 6 months of 2022 it made 453 referrals for people to receive career advice, help with their CV, support to find work or skills training. If you're looking for guidance, you can find out more here https://www.basildon.gov.uk/theadvicestore

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Published 12 August 2022