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Openings for Progression. Dr Lindsay Hewitt. Bridges Programmes: Background. Founded 2003 in response to the dispersal of asylum seekers to Glasgow and the tensions surrounding this Social and economic integration, but not in the community, but through the workplace Work shadowing

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openings for progression
Openings for Progression
  • Dr Lindsay Hewitt
bridges programmes background
Bridges Programmes: Background
  • Founded 2003 in response to the dispersal of asylum seekers to Glasgow and the tensions surrounding this
  • Social and economic integration, but not in the community, but through the workplace
    • Work shadowing
    • Work placements
    • Employer engagement
    • Signposting to FE and HE options
  • Challenging due to restrictions on asylum seekers and media opinions
  • Changing opinions an important element of our work
  • Asylum Seeker
  • Refugee status and Humanitarian Protection
  • Leave to Remain under Case Resolution
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Third country nationals and EU migrants
  • Anyone for whom English is a second language
partnership with the ou
Partnership with the OU
  • Bridges is holistic in approach
  • Engaged with OU on wider consultation to assess overseas qualifications and experience
  • ‘Am I Ready to Study English’ pilot
  • Changing service to meet changing needs: Status; Gender; Age
  • Partnership with OU came along just as clients were gaining status and needing to reassess their options
  • The Womens Empowerment Course
  • Specific Openings courses seemed almost designed with Bridges in mind: ‘Learning to Change’, ‘Understanding Children’
  • Now ‘Working in Voluntary and Community Organisations’
  • OU seen as part of the menu of options for our clients
the clients
The clients:
  • Asylum seekers and refugees…
  • English as a second language…
  • No ‘typical’ client…
  • Many educated to degree level and beyond…
  • Focused on securing employment…

‘In addition to the problems generally faced by the poorest and most marginalised sections of society refugees face a range of practical barriers. These include: difficulty getting overseas qualifications recognised, lack of UK work experience and references, poor English language skills, lack of information and guidance about the UK education system and labour market, negative and racist attitudes of employers, declining confidence and self esteem due to under- and unemployment and lack of purposeful activity while waiting for their asylum application to be processed.’ Morrice, L., ‘Lifelong learning and the social integration of refugees in the UK: the significance of social capital’, International Journal of Lifelong Learning, 26:2 (March-April 2007) p.156

practical barriers
‘Practical barriers’
  • Status (asylum seeker/refugee)
  • English language skills (written)…
  • Credit transfer…
  • Professional bodies…
  • Time and money…
  • Confidence…
the ou bridges response i
The OU/Bridges response (I)
  • Bridges ‘know’ their clients…
  • Embedded OU adviser
  • Fully supported referral to OU adviser…
  • Face to face interview(s) with client…
  • Information and advice
  • Guidance on OU resources (Am I ready to study in English? - OpenLearn)…
  • Other routes considered…
the ou bridges response ii
The OU/Bridges response (II)
  • Support for registration…
  • Support for learning…
  • Progression advice…
what s good
What’s good?
  • Embedded adviser…
  • Close relationship…
  • Holistic approach...
  • Commitment to help…
  • Resources…
  • Partnership provides Bridges with another quality service and provides further options for clients
  • It has helped us support specific groups of clients particularly well, i.e. Women
  • Enhanced our reputation for specialist advice
  • Fulfils the OU remit to promote equality of access
  • Potential to work together to influence future funding and access issues

Contact: Campbell Wilson HewittOU in Scotland, Learning Development 226 3851For more information about Openings courses, click

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