Generosity of English UK centres highlighted in RefuAid report
13 September 2022

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Generosity of English UK centres highlighted in RefuAid report 

Almost 500 refugees and asylum seekers were learning English with free tuition from English UK members last year, according to the charity's Impact Report for 2021-2022.

However, the charity, which enables refugees and asylum seekers to rebuild their lives in the UK by supporting them to get good enough English qualifications to resume careers or higher education, received over 1,200 applications for help in the same period.  

RefuAid hope to further increase the number of English UK members willing to help refugees to meet the rise in the coming year, at a time when asylum applications rose by 63% in 2021 and demand has risen drastically. The charity now gets 15-25 new applications for help each day.  

"Given that English language skills vary from beginner to proficient, we are looking to expand our partnerships with English language schools across the country and online. We are working closely with English UK, who are supporting us to partner with as many of their language schools as possible," says the report.   

Our chief executive Jodie Gray is quoted in the report, saying:

"In the autumn of 2021, English UK and RefuAid agreed a formal partnership. Since then, we have worked to raise awareness of the work of RefuAid among our 350+ language school members, helping them to see the benefits of offering free places in their physical and virtual classrooms."

"Language centres offering help include some of those which have struggled most through the pandemic, and many members moved by the crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine have contacted us asking how they can help."

"During the past months we have shared inspirational stories from our members and RefuAid's students of their experiences and have been blown away by the response, with around 20 new centres signing up this year. One story got some of the highest engagement ever on our website and social media, and led directly to two new members signing up. We are proud to be associated with RefuAid and proud of our members' response to the needs of people from all over the world."  

RefuAid and English language schools

RefuAid is currently working with 93 private language schools and has worked informally with English UK since 2015 and many of our members have been offering student places to RefuAid clients since then. 700 of RefuAid's clients have been able to go on to university, requalification, or employment as a result of free English language tuition they have received.  

In the year to May 2022, 495 students were supported on language programmes and 196 graduated with the qualifications they needed, almost double the number of the previous year. Just over half – 57% - got IELTS while 35 per cent achieved OET. 

Last year 37 went on to access requalification loans so that with their English qualification they could resume careers in areas such as medicine and civil engineering. Many have also gone on to higher education in 13 different subjects. 

"They offered me a teacher to help me improve my English and they also linked me to another organisation to get additional support which was amazing, as I was able to achieve the results I needed in IELTS and enrol in university," said a Syrian student who needed IELTS to go to university, passed first time and went on to study finance and accountancy at Cardiff before going on a three-month internship.  

Types of English language tests and exams offered to RefuAid clients

RefuAid and English UK 

  • English UK works in partnership with RefuAid.
  • The RefuAid 'Language: A Gateway' project increases access to English language tuition for people who have claimed asylum in the UK and those in the process of doing so.
  • RefuAid partners with UK language teaching centres to give their clients access to the language teaching they need to pass IELTS or OET exams, allowing them to continue their careers or education in the UK.  The charity also provides loans enabling clients to get the UK accreditation and training they need to return to work. 
  • More than 80 English UK centres have supported over 600 RefuAid clients to get the IELTS or OET qualification they needed since the charity was founded in 2015. 
  • RefuAid needs more centres to offer free places to its clients. If you can help, visit visit RefuAid for more information about becoming a partner school.
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