Effectiveness of ESOL provision for jobseekers in London
There is currently a perverse incentive for learning providers to keep a job seeking customer on their English for speakers of other languages provision instead of encouraging them to enter into employment, argues a new report by Inclusion.
Inclusion also found that Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers both have a role in designing ESOL provision. Jobcentre Plus prefers the provision to be shorter but Work Programme providers are happy to provide long term courses that they feel are necessary for a customer to gain strong English skills in order to enter into employment.
Inclusion's report, 'Analysis of English language employment support provision in London for JSA and ESA WRAG customers', was commissioned by the Greater London Authority. Inclusion researched pre-employment English language provision in London and how to improve it to help support Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance work related activity group claimants into work.
The report finds that good existing ESOL provision:
- Has an adequate course length
- Involves appropriate course hours
- Includes routeways onto entry-level provision
- Provides single level courses
- Includes consistency for learners
- Has flexible ESOL course structures
- Enables availability of both embedded and discrete ESOL provision
- Enables flexible integration of employability in discrete ESOL provision
- Considers alternative approaches to further class-based ESOL training for customers on the Work Programme
Inclusion's report includes the following wider recommendations:
- Local Jobcentre Plus offices should have a named ESOL lead
- ESOL providers should have a presence in Jobcentre Plus offices to provide information on courses and conduct assessments
- Work Programme providers and ESOL providers should build on good referral links being developed across London
- Local authorities should consider the good practice identified in one London borough where the local authority runs a single ESOL advice service
There are also further recommendations on referrals, design, and job outcomes of ESOL provision.