Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Changing Lives Through Sport

British Gas volunteers assisting work club attendees at the TryZone Education Centre
British Gas volunteers assisting work club attendees at the TryZone Education Centre
British Gas volunteers support Work Related ESOL programme
31 May 2016, 7:00
By Dan Phillis
As part of this year's National Volunteers' week taking place from 1st to the 12th June, Leeds Rhinos Foundation are recognising the contribution of the volunteers who help us deliver life changing projects in the Leeds community starting with British Gas' team of volunteers who support both children and adult education programmes at the charity's TryZone Education Centre.
Leeds Rhinos Foundation's Adult Work Club and ESOL programmes for adults have been boosted by support from volunteer staff from British Gas, who have played a key role in supporting students through a range of work related initiatives, including the latest 10 session programme 'Preparing for interview'.

The ESOL Preparing for Interview sessions are delivered as part of the Leeds City Council's Community Learning Programme and take place at TryZone, the Leeds Rhinos Foundation's Education Centre at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

The work related ESOL programmes have been running since April 2015, assisting adults with English as their second language to access employment opportunities, become more employable and to integrate into their local communities.

Learners access the programmes, through referrals from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), other local support organisations or word of mouth. The Preparing for Interview programme is offered as a five-week block of two sessions a week, which guides the attendees through basic greetings and introductions to taking part in a mock interview.

Based around 10 sessions, the programme covers the complete process of applying for jobs in the UK including: formal introductions, how to request information on the telephone, researching the potential employer, body language, how to dress for interviews, undertaking mock interviews and interview feedback.

Pivotal to the delivery from Leeds Rhinos Foundation Adult Learning Officer Jaci Hawkins has been support from British Gas staff, who support the sessions and also provide the interview panel for the mock interviews. The panel are unknown to the attendees to help simulate the real life interviews that they will come across after finishing the programme.

Jaci Hawkins, who coordinates the work related ESOL programmes for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation said:

"Support from the British Gas volunteers is invaluable. It enables me to plan and deliver the sessions to meet the needs of the learners who attend. It is much easier to provide relevant and useful input to learners with differing English language skills, when the learners can be divided into smaller, more manageable groups with similar abilities."

Speaking about working as a volunteer on the programme British Gas volunteer Stephen Bearcroft commented:

"Since I started attending TryZone (ESOL) I have really enjoyed the experience. I have learnt a lot about different cultures and the difficulties people face when moving to this country. I was motivated to take part originally after coming back from travelling and wanting to teach English in foreign counties in the future.

"It's a great feeling when you can see and hear how much a student's English improves over such a short amount of time. It's helped me improve my confidence in speaking with people where there are barriers in place and I've learnt to be a lot more patient."

Nargis, who attended the programme following a referral from the DWP commented on the impact of the programmes:

"When I started at TryZone in July 2015, my English was quite bad and I was not confident to speak in English, and I could not read or write. I attend sessions every week and now my family say that my speaking and understanding of English is much better and I can read. I took part in the mock interviews in April, I was very scared but I did it. I would not have had the confidence to do that last year."
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