Maximpact wins Northern Ireland’s Support to Ease Refugees’ Integration

Media Release: February 2019

Accelerating into 2019 with prospects to help migrants integrate in English predominant environments, Maximpact recently received the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy’s support for its Fast Track to Employment Programme for Syrian refugees.

The Programme provides innovative, live, online English language training for Syrian refugees. Completed within a short timeframe, the tuition is complemented by work placements which provide on-the-job experience that enable refugees to understand and communicate proficiently in English before they begin their new careers.

Since the 2011 civil war in Syria, more than 250 000 lives were lost, putting the country at the core of the most internally displaced people and refugees in the world. After the SVPRS (Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme) was initiated in 2014, there is greater awareness around helping those seeking asylum. Providing a safe haven for Syrians wanting to restart their lives has now become a priority. For many immigrants, however, relocating to a new country, especially where a foreign language is predominant, can be daunting. Language and employment are key elements to achieving social and economic integration. Equipping migrants with the skills they need to flourish in these areas are important cornerstones in their new life journey.

Two recent pilot projects that focussed on developing refugees’ language proficiency (from pre-ESOL1 to level A22) stand testament to the programme’s success since its inception in 2018. The projects showed an 80 percent successful employment rate among students who improved their language skills over three months.

The Fast Track to Employment Programme’s next phase will start on 18 February and involve 14 Syrian refugees from Northern Ireland. The refugees that live in Downpatrick, Lisburn, Lurgan, Portadown and Enniskillen, will participate in two-hour long online live online tutoring three times a week.

The courses are led by experienced teachers and include online tuition for students who may not be able to attend classes on-site. Smart devices and technological assistance in students’ first language (Arabic) are provided during the course. Once students have completed the programme, Maximpact’s consultants liaise directly with recruiters and refugee support networks on the students’ behalf. Students are guided on CV drafting, prepped for interviews and assisted in setting up their IELTS (International English Language Testing System) online.

“We’re honoured to welcome the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy into a process that empowers refugees and migrants through confidence-building in a stimulating learning environment, and prepares them for the next stage of their integration into Northern Ireland economy”, says Maximpact’s founder and CEO, Tom Holland.

“Since the programme is offered at no charge to applicants, the Department’s support has given us the opportunity to open the course to more individuals, a prospect that has major expansion potential as similar international role players come on board”, adds Holland.

While the Programme’s main purpose is to upskill refugees and migrants in as short a time as possible, our consultants also reach out to employers with appropriate advice and insights. Maximpact is in direct contact with respected employers including Bluebird Care UK, RGIS, Beannchor Group, Hastings Hotels and Novosco.

Learn how to get involved here.


“We like the Fast Track to Employment and Social Integration programme as it offers an innovative solution to overcome childcare, transportation and health barriers, and a great complementary learning to assist FE colleges. The refugees have an alternative English training provision whilst being on the waiting lists and during summer holidays so they can obtain the level of English to further attend college classes, socially interact and find employment. Maximpact provides hands-on, flexible and tailored support to refugees in their employment pathways which places them appropriately to their background skills and ambitions.” – Ligia Parizzi, ESOL NI Co-ordinator

“It was very useful for my situation because I can’t go to college – and the reason is that I care for my daughter. So, this course was fantastic for me. I’d love to do another online English course if possible.” – Fatima

“Online English is crucial to my learning and so easy to access. Even when I broke my foot and waiting in the Hospital, I still attended the class! I like the way they teach and I am grateful I am able to attend the class from anywhere.” – Sahar

“Many thanks to Annelie, she really teach us patiently. We will keep working hard as much as we can.” – Nibal

“Many thanks Caroline and Ms. Annelie for your effort and many thanks for everyone who works in the shadow and make this course come true.” – Ali

“Caroline and Annelie, many thanks for your big effort which you give it to us. Annelie expert teacher and the results will appear soon. We will never forget this job and many thanks for the leaders in British Government.” – Farouk

“When I arrived in Northern Ireland my first worry was that I couldn’t speak English. I wish we would have learned it a little before we arrived here. It would have helped us settle in. It was very hard for us, especially for me as I wasn’t able to enjoy my social life as I was able to in Syria, and here because of lack of language I wasn’t able to communicate and make friends. I wasn’t even able to speak to my neighbours. I’ve found difficulties to complete the essential parts of the life, such as shopping, dealing with letters, appointments and communicating with doctors and many more, all because of the inability to speak the language. I found it really hard as I couldn’t ask, and I wasn’t able to understand at all.” – Samia

 “My name is Mohamad, I work in the Merchant Hotel Housekeeping. I am very happy in this job, as I love to work, it’s a very important part of my life. Working helps me to integrate into society and sharpen my communication skill.” – Mohamad

“We are very satisfied with the work Maximpact has completed to help refugees become job ready – facilitating hospitality organisations such as ours with job ready employees. Maximpact provides an excellent bridge between employers and employees.” – Dr. Bill Wolsey, OBE, Beannchor Group

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End Notes:

  1. ESOL: An abbreviation for the teaching of English to learners and speakers whose first language is not English, but who are living in an English-speaking country. Therefore, Pre-ESOL, is the pre entry to building students’ confidence and ‘upskilling’ them before entering a full ESOL course.

Sources: Cambridge Dictionary;

  1. English level A2: Defined by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) as the elementary and next level to beginner language proficiency in English

Source: British Council

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