Employability Week – Trip to Oxfam!

Added: Jan 24, 2020

At EMBS we make listening to the needs of our students a priority. And when we ask our students why they are taking English classes at the beginning of the term, often more than half respond that they need better English to either get a job, to get a promotion at their current job, or to change careers.

Since job skills are so vital to our students’ lives, this week was employability week at EMBS, led by the dynamic Kirsty Tull. On Monday, she coordinated with several of our teachers to organise a trip to the new Oxfam Superstore in the Business Park in Cowley.

Four classes in total, two in the morning and two in the afternoon listened to a presentation about the Future Skills project, which offers job support and skills development for women who have recently settled in the UK. This three-month project provides a supported volunteer placement in an Oxfam shop alongside professional mentoring and career-focused workshops. Anyone who participates also completes a ‘learning log,’ which helps them to identify and tick off new job skills as they progress. Professional references are provided to enable participants to apply for other jobs.

After the presentations, the learners had the chance to tour the building and see for themselves the range of handcrafted gifts homeware and pre-loved clothes Oxfam sells.  Current volunteers were working alongside paid staff to price up items, make attractive displays and sort new stock.    

The students also heard about local employment and training opportunities from Rosa, a co-ordinator at Aspire. Aspire is an employment charity that works with a range of people looking to get into work. It empowers vulnerable people facing homelessness, poverty, and disadvantage to find jobs. Aspire also has opportunities for ESOL learners in construction and property and grounds maintenance that give them practical experience whilst providing them with targeted ESOL lessons.

After the presentations and the tour, the students had a chance to ask questions, and many eagerly signed up to volunteer at the Oxfam store.

Our Entry 2 teacher Beccy Mullett commented: “It was exciting to see the enthusiasm from some of our learners who have never worked or volunteered since they moved to the UK. It was wonderful to see them keen to get involved.”


«...I not only consider EMBS a college - I also see it as my family.... »

«I arrived in this country four months ago, without any confidence in my English and really scared to be an independent person at sixteen. I didn't know what my next steps were since the education in my country is really different. One day, my aunt bought me to EMBS. At the beginning I was really insecure as I didn't even know how to use the bus and get there, it made me feel like a child surrounded by grown up people that didn’t understand me at all. Ever since I started to study here, everything negative that I used to feel has changed completely. I’ve got to meet amazing people like Jo and Jane, who took care of me and were concerned about my future. I’ve also got to make amazing friends like Aisha and Abner that always make me laugh and feel positive about life. Of course, this is not the only thing that the EMBS has given me: they also are deeply involved in my education and they help me in any way possible to achieve my purpose, which is go to university and study human rights. If I am being honest, I not only consider EMBS a college - I also see it as my family. »


«...I really enjoyed my time at EMBS, meeting so many different people and making lots of fun and happy memories.... »

«Before I came to EMBS I was very shy and often felt very awkward to start conversations with people around me, I never spoke unless I was spoken to but after a few months of being here I gained confidence and was able to communicate with other people comfortably, made good friends and feel like I knew myself. I really enjoyed my time at EMBS, meeting so many different people and making lots of fun and happy memories.»


«...The staff are really nice and friendly.... »

«Before I came to EMBS I was very shy and not confident, I used to be very afraid to speak English outside of college. But after several months, EMBS helped me to gain more confidence and especially improve my spoken and written English. The staff are really nice and friendly.»