Following a successful launch in Manchester, Seetec Outsource has opened a new service for the growing number of non-English speaking residents in Liverpool. The new ESOL Skills for Life Academy will aid the city’s recovery by improving community integration, supporting key language skills development and boosting job readiness.

The Academy will help those with limited communication, social and functional skills, and provide them with the confidence to secure high-quality employment and integrate successfully into life in the United Kingdom. Seetec Outsource will work with each learner to give them any additional support they need as they continue to build connections in the community and search for employment opportunities.

Andi MacGregor, Head of Education and Skills for Seetec Outsource, said: “What we find is a lot of our learners have received a good education in their countries of origin, but they often have to do jobs that do not maximise their skill set because their qualifications aren’t recognised here. The key is to strengthen a learner’s ability to articulate the added value their existing skills and talents could potentially bring to the workplace. This new academy will assist learners to unlock their full potential, taking them on a journey, not just professionally, but personally too so that they can integrate into their new communities.”

One student from the academy is Mervat Al Mohammad from Syria, a graduate of Aleppo university. Mervat worked for more than 19 years at The General Syrian Corporation where she was involved in the trade and processing of grain.

After moving to Liverpool four years ago, Mervat found it difficult to adjust to her new life in the United Kingdom without being able to speak fluent English, meaning she couldn’t access a job at the level she had held for nearly two decades in her home country due to her limited language skills.

Mervat said: “I learnt some English at school and university in Syria, but it was hard for me to manage my new life here without speaking English. I started learning English in the parent classes at the primary school of my children, then I registered for the ESOL course.

“I gained a lot from the ESOL course as I have developed my communication skills and improved my grammar and writing skills. I can now write long paragraphs about any subject, I can read in English, fill in forms and surveys, and carry out my essential daily life tasks. I can now even help my children with their homework and discuss their performance with their teachers. I am now much more confident about finding suitable employment.”

Another student benefiting from the Liverpool Academy is Michael Ibrahim, who is originally from Germany and has gone on to start a career as a support worker.

Michael said: “It was fantastic especially to be offered the ESOL course through the pandemic. I had the opportunity to learn online, and once COVID restrictions allowed it was a wonderful experience to socialise with other people from lots of different countries and improve my English skills.

“I’m the only non-native English speaker at work, and it would have been much tougher for me to secure employment if I didn’t attend the ESOL course.”

The Skills for Life Academy, located in Derby Square, is fully funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority adult education budget, and is free to eligible learners aged 19 plus. It aims to help communities in Liverpool find employment and training opportunities, aiding the economic recovery in the North West post COVID-19.

Figures from the last census in 2011 showed that there were 29,000 non-English speakers living in Liverpool, however this number is believed to have increased significantly with more people originating from outside the United Kingdom now living in the city compared to a decade ago.

Andi MacGregor, Head of Education and Skills for Seetec Outsource, concluded: “The ESOL academy’s work in Liverpool will be vital in supporting non-English speakers to improve their communication skills, gain confidence and find work as part of wider efforts to boost the economic recovery from COVID-19. We want to make sure that the academy is accessible to everyone who is eligible, offering a varied learning experience both online and in a classroom setting, opening at flexible times during weekday evenings and at the weekends.

“The Manchester Skills for Life Academy, which opened in November 2020, has been a great success with an assessment achievement rate of 93%.

“Learners will be able to access a COVID-secure learning environment to help them find work, make friends and improve their self-confidence as they look to achieve greater financial independence.”

To find out more about the ESOL Skills for Life Academy (Liverpool and Manchester) visit: https://www.seetecoutsource.co.uk/opportunity/esol-skills-for-life-academy/