Poland’s recent entry into the EU has already had a major impact on the British economy and also on EU and international students in institutions across Britain.
The huge rise in students deriving from Poland has led to a rise in ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) courses aimed primarily at Polish students, whereas previously the ESOL focus was on Asian students. However, it is not only the Polish student community in Britain that are benefiting from their country’s EU membership. Polish workers are now also reaping the rewards.
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For example, Havant College in Hampshire trains Polish workers working at a local EstÃ©e Lauder factory on exactly what workers need to operate effectively and safely in their workplace. The rise in trade between Britain and Poland has also led to some colleges considering teaching staff in British business on how to conduct their trade in Polish.
Helena Summers, Curriculum Manager at Fareham College, said: “For many Poles college is more than learning a language ““ they also acquire a network of friends and support ““ and the knowledge that they acquire means many can obtain much better jobs than would otherwise be the case. Their attitude to learning is exemplary, as is their dedication.”
The rise in the number of Polish workers entering Britain has had a mixed reception. The general public’s perception of the rise of EU immigration into Britain has been largely negative. According to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, however, the rise in Eastern European workers coming to Britain has helped the economy in raising tax revenue and keeping inflation under control.
A recent BBC Two survey for the Newsnight programme, however, found that the government has seriously underestimated the rise of Polish workers migrating to Britain to find work. One of the consequences of this has been to put added pressure on housing and public services. Whether the impact of new EU member states will have a positive effect on the British economy in the long term remains to be seen.
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