Two years on from the launch of NCG’s Our Community is Your Community Project during Colleges Week 2021, Carlisle College is expanding its ESOL provision to support local refugees and asylum seekers.

The ESOL team is in the process of appointing two new ESOL teachers and a Refugee Engagement Officer to help support asylum seekers and refugees in accessing college courses and services.

Nathan Ball, Adult Learning Manager at the College explained: “We’re starting a new ESOL course every 8 weeks or so at the moment. We’ve rewritten the plan for ESOL to respond to an increase in numbers of applications, and we’ve also created three new positions. The first is a Refugee Coordinator to support our 16–18-year-old refugees. We are also advertising for two new ESOL teachers.”

Carlisle College’s “Welcome to Britain” ESOL courses don’t just teach learners the basic English language, they also look at preparing them for citizenship, and unpick some of the colloquialisms they will encounter in their day-to-day lives.

The College is also working with Penrith and Eden Refugee Network (PERN) to provide legal support to students who may need help compiling their cases for asylum. PERN is based on the College’s campus to ensure they are accessible, and learners are invited to attend regular sessions for free.

Principal of Carlisle College, Sarah McGrath, said she is proud of the support the College is providing for local refugees and asylum seekers.

She said: “At Carlisle College we believe that colleges sit at the heart of communities and that our role goes beyond the courses that we offer. That is why we are totally committed to supporting the refugee and asylum seeker communities locally. Expanding our ESOL provision and working with partners will allow us to provide a comprehensive package of support and guidance for individuals and families that really need it more than ever.”