ESOL Pathfinder Research Topic To investigate whether Language / Cultural Awareness training will enable frontline staff to deal more appropriately with a wide range of ESOL learners.
Working with JobCentre Plus Initial Objectives • To identify issues and barriers faced by JCP staff when dealing with speakers of other languages • To offer focused language and cultural awareness training to frontline staff • To establish channels of communication between ESOL and JCP staff
Aims of the Training Cultural Awareness • To raise awareness of the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers in the UK • To dispel some of the myths relating to refugees and asylum seekers • To raise awareness of the needs of speakers of other languages • To consider cultural variables e.g. personal space, body language, behavioural ‘norms’ • To provide useful factual information regarding support organisations
Aims of the Training Language Awareness • To raise awareness of issues involved in communicating with people whose first language is not English • To introduce some techniques for checking understanding • To reflect on cross-linguistic / cross-cultural communication • To consider the impact of ineffective communication on the customer and advisor
Evaluation Advisors identified the following benefits: • Better understanding of the asylum process • Greater awareness of language and cultural issues • Realisation of barriers faced by second language speakers • Strategies for support in initial interviews • Knowledge of organisations offering support • ‘a great deal of information needed to carry out my job effectively’
Evaluation Requests were made for: • Further sessions to include input from speakers of other languages • More information on cross-cultural issues • Establishment of mentoring programmes • Training for mentors • System to facilitate ongoing liaison between ESOL Tutors and JCP Advisors
Immediate Outcomes • JCP advisors organised information sessions for ESOL students interested in forthcoming JCP posts • Customers needing short intensive English for Work courses identified by JCP • Focus group with customers to identify specific language needs • Course designed by ESOL Tutors and JCP staff • JCP advisors involved in ESOL residential course Preparation for Work • Action Plan drawn up for future collaborative work • Links with Ethnic Outreach workers established • JCP Basic Skills Managers attended ESOL providers meeting to clarify procedures
Further Outcomes • 75% of JCP Advisors returning evaluation 6 months on identified longer term positive impact on their work • Triangular relationships established for Customer Support • Language and Cultural Awareness Training pack disseminated via national Pathfinders forum • Training was adapted and delivered to other college staff (DISC, library, Student Services, Customer Support, key teaching staff across the college and Business Training Staff)