The 13-week programme was funded by Barking & Dagenham Renew and was run by resident steering group member Pierre Epoh Moudio. It covered English language and employability skills and was delivered online (via Zoom) due to the pandemic.
In total eight students joined the programme, with over 50% having been recommended to the programme by satisfied students. The programme receives students from a variety of backgrounds, including Romania, Albania, France, Bangladesh, Georgia Bulgaria and Italy. Most of them are residents in the Thames Ward area and a few are from Dagenham.
The programme was well attended every Saturday and the achievement by the students was also excellent. By the end of the programme, all the students completed key daily tasks that they could not do at the beginning such as filling in an application form for work, registering with a doctor, talking about their skills and qualities, and having a short phone conversation. The feedback received from the students has been incredibly positive!
Initially a 10-week programme, it was expanded into a 13-week programme due to increased demand, and has been curated to the students’ needs. Despite the lockdown, the programme has played an important and positive part in their lives, enabling them to learn new skills in the comfort of their homes, make new friends, and meet people on a weekly basis especially for those who live alone.
However, it was not without its challenges. Most of the students found it difficult to use the online video conferencing app Zoom at the start of the course, so a session was dedicated to instructing students on how to use it. Pierre further assisted some students by helping them install the app on their devices (while socially distanced), showing the varied types of support Pierre has needed to provide.
Pierre’s passion for supporting students has translated into tangible change for many of them. Recently, a student Pierre was supporting through his mentoring scheme was offered a job as a care assistant volunteer in a local hospital. He notes that her self-esteem and confidence have grown immensely and she is now able to set even bigger goals than she first considered.
The vision for the future is to continue the ESOL and employability programmes and also start a mentoring programme that supports students to achieve their full potential and improve the quality of their lives.
Additionally, there are plans for the ESOL class to be divided into two classes to cater for different levels: one for elementary students and another one for intermediate students.
Pierre hopes to provide further sessions to meet the demands of his students once additional funding has been secured.
How To Get Involved
If you would like more information about the free ESOL programme, employability programme, and mentoring scheme, please complete the form below.