This week (15th June) is Refugee Week. Since 2016, 100 Syrian refugees have been placed in Worcestershire through the County Council’s Resettlement Programme.
Support for refugees doesn’t just stop there. Worcestershire County Council’s Adult Learning Programme provides refugees with opportunities to learn English, find jobs and complete qualifications.
Melodie Williams is an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutor who works with the Council as a Community Tutor. She works with learners of all nationalities, including refugees, to help them improve their English language.
This includes speaking, listening, reading and writing. “I work with people of all ages, supporting them with all areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.” Melodie says.
“Over the past 18 months, I have been working with the refugee families across the county. It has been great fun and very insightful. I work the learners to help them with living in the UK as effectively as possible and to use the English language.
“The focus is living in the UK and becoming independent. This includes culture differences, accessing medical services, shopping, learning to drive in the UK, helping with job interview preparation and partaking in hobbies.”
Like all businesses, the Coronavirus outbreak has impacted the way people work. The Adult Learning Team and tutors at Worcestershire County Council have adapted classes and tutoring to be purely online as opposed to face to face sessions.
“Moving online has proved successful and the learners have been very enthusiastic to continue their classes. The past 12 weeks have shown how flexible and adaptable people can be. We are already looking at ways of teaching going forward.
“We anticipate lessons to be more flexible, more creative and more engaging.”
Worcestershire County Councillor, Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities said: “This Refugee Week is different to before. The pandemic has meant that services have needed to adapt to ensure learners aren’t missing out on vital classes. We’re taking this opportunity to celebrate both refugees and tutors who have adapted to the circumstances so well. I’d like to thank all the team who have supported refugees during this time.”
Melodie said: “Building a rapport and relationship is key with the learners. The key is to help them become independent and able to live within the lifestyle of the UK. I love what I do. Like any job, it can be frustrating but it is very rewarding and whenever learners put their English into practice, I am so proud of them.”
Find out more about the Syrian Resettlement Programme: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20002/community_volunteering_and_act_local/1158/syrian_resettlement_programme