Alleviating poverty, bringing hope

ESOL Courses transforming our Academy students’ lives

In just 12 months our Academy has provided training to over 800 Bedfordshire residents – empowering them to play a greater part in British life and making a vital impact on community integration.

The Academy ESOL project was aimed at those who struggle to speak English, which research has shown, make up the largest proportion of non-English speakers and who are consequently among the most isolated in our society.

850,000 people in the UK have no or poor language skills and at the start of the course, many of the people who took part were unable to do routine things like talk to a teacher about a child, visit the doctor or check their children’s online activities.

The countless success stories show that learning English increased participants competence in dealing with everyday issues and to take their next steps in education, training and employment. It strengthened their parenting around children’s education and healthcare and increased their confidence to take a greater part in community life.

For the volunteers too, the experience was a pathway to training and employment as they gained new skills and teaching experience.  They reported that volunteering had given them a strong sense of personal fulfilment, increased their confidence and provided a highly rewarding experience which encouraged them to engage in other voluntary work.

Head of Training and Employment, Warren Edwards said: “Being able to speak English transforms lives – it’s the glue that holds communities together. I am delighted and overwhelmed by the Academy’s success over the past three and a half years  – success being the 320 people who have moved into work as a result of our interventions – and the lives changed through our courses, particularly those centred around mental health and wellbeing.

This would not have been possible without our wonderfully dedicated staff and tutors and the many partners and volunteers who offer support with mentoring, talks and mock interviews, as well as financial back-up. The future offers the prospect of helping more people realise their potential and our achievement to date has led to further commissioning of our services, throughout Bedfordshire to help make that happen on a broader scale.”

Gemma a tutor at the NOAH Academy explains that, “We have a laugh in the classroom. I want my learners to feel they can talk to me about anything. We’re all in this together, you know? If I can open doors for them, then I’ll do what I can. When they join, they always lack confidence. They always feel intimidated. Bad childhood memories of the classroom are hard to forget. So, my first job is to make them feel comfortable and ready to learn. It’s so satisfying to see them improve. They start by saying: “I’m not going to get this”. But then they suddenly do. The students are very close to one another. They’ll throw small parties and share food from their home communities.”

For more information about our courses please call 01582 726152 or email