WEA launches innovative English language courses to drive productivity in the Midlands

Date posted: April 8, 2019
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The WEA is piloting a programme to support skilled residents within the Midlands to improve their English to boost skilled employment.

Adult education charity The WEA will be working with Midlands Engine and the LEPs to improve employment prospects and productivity in the work place.

The Midlands Engine has ambitious targets for growth, with many employers identifying skills gaps as key barriers. Employers tell us that there is a shortage of soft skills, such as language proficiency, which is a significant barrier to recruitment. The recruitment challenge is driving costs and increasing the need to re-design jobs.

Midlands Engine Programme Director, Fiona Piercy said:

We are pleased to be able to support this project to enable people in The Midlands to fulfil their potential through improved English skills and to help employers to fill recruitment gaps with suitably qualified people.

The WEA plans to support business through providing accelerated work-centred English language learning and identifying local residents who have the relevant skills to meet the needs of local industry.

The proposed programme will identify cohorts of second-language English speakers who had good levels of education, qualifications and work skills in their home countries but who are unable to find relevant work that reflects their abilities due to their limited level of English.

The programme will focus on identifying learners and offering intensive, non-accredited English classes in small groups to accelerate learning and work progression, with the aim to progress to accredited courses to develop work-related vocabularies and wider communication skills while gaining a recognised qualification. The programme is designed to maximise accessibility for students through a blend of face-to-face teaching from experienced tutors, flexible learning times and on-line resources.

The WEA will be piloting the course in Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham and is looking to partner with Job Centre Plus, refugee centres and businesses to recruit potential students. Find out more about the programme and eligibility here.

wea.org.uk/midlands-engine

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