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MK College seeks more venues for English courses after 200% increase in demand from refugees

MK College Group has seen a staggering 200% increase in demand for English courses from refugees and asylum seekers from countries including Ukraine and Afghanistan.

This figure comes from the College Group’s second Community Impact Report, which brings together all of the work that it does to make a positive impact on learners, colleagues and local communities.


With the huge increase in demand for English courses, the College Group has worked hard to expand its ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision but has faced challenges with a lack of appropriate venues to host the courses. As a result, hardworking refugees from countries including Afghanistan and Ukraine are being held back in terms of work and fitting into their communities because of language difficulties.


The College Group is reaching out to people who aren’t able to access English speaking courses, and for suitable venues to deliver language lessons in the community.


“A lot of these people have found jobs, particularly in the logistics or manufacturing sectors, or they are striving to find suitable employment,” says Di Cook, Project Director for Adult Learning at the College Group, “but they’re struggling to get on because of their lack of English. A lot of employers have been very creative, producing articles in the refugees’ own language around things like health and safety and employment law. But obviously it would be much easier if everyone could communicate with each other both at work and in the community. There are examples of people who have potentially missed the opportunity of promotion due to the language barrier”.


Rather than try to encourage potential ESOL students to come to the College, the ESOL team want to make it easier by taking the lessons to them. The College is already successfully delivering courses for Afghan refugees in one of the hotels where they’re living on a temporary basis, which is popular with the residents and is working well, but they are looking for employers to get involved too.


“What we really need,” she says, “is employers to come forward who would like us to teach English on their premises, where the people who need the help are all together. It’s important for them, not just in terms of communicating and being more productive at work, but so they can also become part of their communities.”


Sally Alexander, CEO and Group Principal of MK College Group, added: “Our Community Impact Report not only helps us to demonstrate the work we are doing to build Fairer Futures, but it also highlights just how important this work is. The huge increase in demand for ESOL courses for those from countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan shows that there is a real need in our communities for education services that support everyone to develop skills for meaningful and lasting employment as well as feeling part of their wider community”.


“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the colleagues, learners, employers and other partners who have contributed to the work we do in the community. I’m excited to see what we can achieve together in the years to come.”


Employers who are interested in hosting ESOL courses for their employees can contact MK College Group by emailing employerteam@mkcollege.ac.uk


The MK College Group Community Impact Report is available here https://mkcollege.ac.uk/community-impact-report/

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