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Work-focused ESOL is in vogue, but does it work?

Anxious to contain fast-rising costs, successive Governments have been looking for ways to focus spending on ESOL, and linking English skills to getting jobs has become a favourite option. Working on behalf of GLE, the London-based economic development provider, we evaluated a two-year ‘work-focused ESOL’ pilot project, funded by the Skills Funding Agency.

The project targeted parents , working successfully through local community centres and schools in order to recruit and run courses. An innovative feature was the provision of free childcare.

Working to quite a tight timescale and with a limited budget, we interviewed learners in several locations, providers’ staff, employers and others, to produce a rounded perspective on the success of the pilot.

Louise Mackinnon managed the project, sharing the interviewing with Krystyna Bak.


photo courtesy of JGA