From education to employment

Is ESOL provision given preference over employment for jobseekers in London?

Learning providers are keen to keep jobseekers on their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision instead of encouraging them to move in to employment, a recent report claims.

The ‘Analysis of English language employment support provision in London for JSA and ESA WRAG customers’ was undertaken by The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, the report also found that Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers, which both have a role in designing ESOL provision, have conflicting opinions on course length.

The Jobcentre Plus prefers short courses whereas Work Programme providers are happy to provide long term courses that they feel are necessary for customers to gain strong English skills in order to enter into employment.

The report, which was commissioned by the Greater London Authority, came after Inclusion researched pre-employment English language provision in London and how to improve it in order to help support Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance work related activity group claimants into work.

Some good existing ESOL provision was praised within the report, which included where there was flexible course structures and consistency for learners.

However the report recommended that all ESOL providers should have a presence in Jobcentre Plus offices to provide information on courses and conduct assessments.

It also recommended that local Jobcentre Plus offices should have a named ESOL lead.

The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion is a not-for-profit company dedicated to tackling disadvantage and promoting social inclusion in the labour market. To read Inclusion’s report, click here.

Linsey Humphries


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