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.”