Lancashire Adult Learning has received a slice of a new government fund to teach basic English to those who need it most in communities across the Red Rose County.
A new group of volunteer teachers have also been trained up by LAL to help teach the 370 targeted learners in Accrington, Burnley, Pendle and Preston through the Integrated Communities English Language Programme.
The new programme started on 1 April and builds on the success of existing community-based English language programmes, including the Talk English project, through which LAL has supported 450 learners across Lancashire in the last two years.
The programme sees learners with no or very little English gain basic English language skills through teaching in community venues across Lancashire. The aim is help them integrate into life in England, on to more formal education, so they are able to contribute to the economy in the long term.
Andrea Cowton, Head of Curriculum at Lancashire Adult Learning, said: “I’m delighted that Lancashire Adult Learning is once again able to support people who live in our communities who have very little or no English skills and quite often have no experience of learning either.
“Through this fantastic project, we take great pride in being able to deliver the learning in our community venues where people feel comfortable and give them the invaluable English skills they need to progress.
“Through LAL’s outstanding network of community contacts across Lancashire, our numbers have more than doubled from two years ago, highlighting that the need for this is greater than ever.
“LAL will have a team of 50-plus volunteers in Lancashire to help deliver this provision and by recruiting volunteer teachers to support this project, this has a twofold benefit. The teachers can be familiar faces to learners within the communities that they live in, and frequently those people trained by LAL have a career aim of becoming a teacher so the experience of teaching is extremely useful to them.”
Zaheer Majid, 44, from Nelson, is one of the latest volunteer teachers recruited. He said: “I have started a Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification online and when I heard about this project with Lancashire Adult Learning, I really wanted to get involved with it because it is helping put the theory I am learning through my course into practice in the classroom.
“I’ve found the course with LAL very interesting. I’m looking forward to getting started as I’m really keen to support the people living in Nelson who are struggling with their English to help them communicate better and improve their lives on a day to day basis.”
Gemma Baker, 35, also from Nelson, is another newly-recruited volunteer teacher. She said: “I have previous experience of volunteering and I thought this was a great opportunity to support people in the local community. You get real satisfaction out of helping others.
“I am looking to progress to a role in teaching adults and I have done teaching assistant work before with children with special educational needs. The course with LAL has been really good and I can’t wait to begin teaching.”