Our News

25 January 2013

Cardiff and Vale College combines English language and vocational training for marginalised minority ethnic communities

Cardiff and Vale College has launched a ground-breaking new project aimed at young people from minority ethnic communities who risk being marginalised by a lack of English language skills.

A group of young, pre-16 EU Czech/Slovaks whose families have settled in Cardiff are learning vocational skills while developing their English as part of the scheme. The course, understood to be the only one of its kind in the UK, has been developed in partnership with Cardiff Council.

The Council and CAVC recognised that while some people from minority ethnic communities were receiving vocational education, they were failing to progress to higher level courses. This was found to be largely a result of a lack of support with language provision.

As a result, learners from such communities are vulnerable to becoming NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training – once they finish a course.

Under the new course, the young people from the EU Czech/Slovak community come to the College from two schools in Cardiff for English as a Second Language (ESOL) education as well as to study Automotive Engineering.

The bespoke course started in September and will run for two years. The students were presented with certificates at a special ceremony to celebrate the completion of their first year.

Algernon Foster, 14-19 Co-ordinator at Cardiff Council’s Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service, said: “We were finding that some of our learners in this group were being given opportunities to learn but were not being receiving the language support that they might need.

“We held several meetings with Cardiff and Vale College looking at what we could do. Between us we came up with this scheme where we are getting people vocational qualifications but they also get a qualification in English as well. The English qualification is key to their progression.”

CAVC Head of 14-19 Cara Moloney added: “The College aims to make sure that these students have progression routes past the age of 16. There are a group of learners with ESOL needs who are not meeting Level 1, which is a basic introductory grade. This means progression is very limited so we need to provide groups such as these with all the support that they need.

“It’s important as more and more people are coming over. What we are trying to do is make sure that there are progression routes in place. Once people have done a course they might not be able to progress because their English would not be good enough. That’s why we came up with this scheme – we have to think about things a bit differently.”