This September saw the launch of our new pilot ESOL for Work course in partnership with Fircroft College. As part of our Back to Work Mums programme strand in the Ladywood area of Birmingham our 12 week course will go the extra mile to support women who speak English as a second language and are also struggling to find work after having children.
Suited for Success is piloting the weekly course as part of the Fircroft College Talk English programme and includes the basics of preparing to find and successfully secure employment. From exploring employment aspirations, searching for jobs, creating a CV and applying for jobs to presentation skills, dressing for success and making a great first impression in a job interview.
Language barriers to employment
Suited for Success is based in the Ladywood constituency of Birmingham. The area suffers some of the most entrenched poverty and deprivation in the UK (reference English indices of deprivation) and has the highest unemployment in the UK at 11% with over 5000 out of work claimants.
Many women in the area are dealing with a complex of needs that are barriers to employment including lack of work skills, digital skills and language barriers. High levels of child poverty can also be directly linked to high unemployment in the area.
As part of our research we ran a drop-in morning at a local school in Ladywood working with a small group of female parents. The school has children from over 50 different nationalities speaking many different languages. The head teacher expressed that many of the children are from large single parent families and are in poor homes with very low incomes.
More than just a suit
Since September 2017 Suited for Success has been working in partnership with other local charities and organisations in the area to run a weekly Job Club in the Ladywood Community Centre every Wednesday 10am - 1pm to practically tackle the issues of unemployment right on our doorstep.
Our new ESOL for Work course will run alongside the job club as part of a bespoke employability programme at Suited for Success working in partnership local schools, children centres, job centres and local corporate business employee volunteering partners to support, inspire and prepare women with families in and around the Ladywood area who speak English as a second language to become more confident and equipped to get into employment.
First Impressions Count
At Suited for Success we believe first impressions are crucial when it comes to a job interview. Interview coaching and dressing for interview success (including modest wear for Muslim women) will play a key part in our new ESOL for Work course giving women the self-esteem and confidence they need to succeed, equipping them for the long haul.