Maximpact wins bid for Access to ESOL for Syrian refugees

Maximpact funded to expand online English learning for Syrian refugees

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, October 7, 2019 – Maximpact, a Belfast-based global consulting group focused on sustainable community development, has won the bid for Access to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Provision for SVPRS (Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme), Category 2-Additional ESOL; to provide online English classes and employment support to Syrian refugees and migrants resettling in Northern Ireland in the second half of 2019.

In 2019, the Department of the Economies and Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme awarded Maximpact the new contracts to fund English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes for more than 50 Syrian refugees in six programmes. All learners are VPRS Refugees from Northern Ireland.

Maximpact Funded to Expand Online English Learning for Refugees

Fast Track to employment programme for refugees

Since 2018 Maximpact has been commissioned and funded by the Department of the Economy and Vulnerable People Resettlement Scheme Northern Ireland to provide Fast Track to Employment and Social Integration programmes to refugees.

Fast Track to Employment is a people-led programme that provides online ESOL classes and employment support to refugees and migrants resettled in Northern Ireland who do not have access to or cannot attend face-to-face ESOL classes due to issues of child care, pregnancy, health, disabilities, transportation costs, living in rural areas and long waiting lists to enter college classes.

Maximpact language training is carried out online through the award-winning virtual classroom. The learners are a mixed group of men and women from 18-84. Maximpact works closely with local non-profit organisations, colleges, key workers, employers, church organisations and other community members.

Learners will be provided with iPads and instructions on how to use the virtual classroom. Support will be provided throughout the training period in the Arabic language.

The focus of Maximpact training is functional English to be used in many day-to-day settings and also tailored to the needs of those migrants and refugees seeking employment in the UK.

The online live tuition methodology used by Maximpact, supported by online general and vocation-specific language study materials, has been proven to build confidence, encourage integration and improve proficiency in English. This also helps the learners to learn how to use the Internet, email and develop related IT skills.

Within an average of three months, the Fast Track to Employment project in Northern Ireland improves learners’ oral communication and understanding from pre-entry to entry level A2.

The language content equips learners to use English in finding jobs, meeting locals, contributing to communities in which they live and enjoying the same quality of life as long-time residents.

Homework activities encourage learners to interact with the community, for example, to ask simple questions at the local community centre or supermarket. Each learner then shares his or her experience, feelings and understanding with classmates.

Role playing is part of the lesson activities to build confidence. To stimulate further interaction, Maximpact encourages those learners who are able to do voluntary work for local community-based organisations.

Maximpact provides job placement opportunities to all learners in its programmes and offers essential tips to refugees and migrants on how to conduct themselves during job interviews. All potential employers receive guidance from Maximpact on what they should know when hiring refugees and migrants.

Eighty percent of Maximpact learners, who have the capacity to work, have been offered employment in specific industries right after course completion.

“Thanks to Maximpact’s programme I was able to finally take English classes and improve my English. They have also helped me find work,” says Khaloud, a Syrian refugee now living in Northern Ireland.

Khaloud has already earned praise from her new employer. “Khaloud started a few weeks ago and everyone is delighted to have her on board. She brings such a positive approach,” said Siobhan Hanley, Head of Region, Trocaire. Meaning compassion, Trocaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Tarek, another Maximpact learner from Syria, has benefited greatly from the programme. “Maximpact helped me find employment and in my profession and, thanks to the online English, my wife who is pregnant and cannot go to college can learn English.

Tarek found employment at Specsavers Opticians and Audiologists in Belfast, where Sinead Donnelly is pleased with his performance.

We are very happy with Tarek’s work,” said Donnelly. He is very compliant, committed and mixes very well with all members of staff. An excellent placement, Thank you Caroline with Maximpact for approaching us and for the committed follow up to Tarek’s progress.”

The learners give glowing reports of their experiences with Maximpact’s online ESOL classes and job placement services.

Talal, a graduate of the A2 group in the February-July 2019 programme, said, “The online classes have helped me improve my English a lot! The teacher is very professional and she stimulates the students to learn and participate. We receive encouragement from the team continuously. I needed this course and support. I have improved by 40 percent since the start. Big thanks to them and funders who made it possible for us to have it.

Through Maximpact’s programme, Talal has recently been short-listed for an interview with a global pharmaceutical manufacturing company – we wish him all the best of luck.

For further information, please contact: Caroline Kennedy by email.

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