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The importance of English lessons for non-UK national workers

The UK Working Lives report by the CIPD was released on 11 April. The CIPD surveyed approximately 6000 workers in the UK across different sectors focussing on 7 key dimensions of “job quality”. The survey results reveal what employers should be focussing on to enhance job quality and improve working lives.

Is there a need for English lessons for non-UK nationals?

In fact, many low skilled workers would like to have training but the opportunity was not there. One of the key findings of the survey was that many workers in low-skill and casual positions said they had few opportunities to develop skills and advance in their careers. 32% of these workers said that they had not received any training in the past 12 months. Is this because there has not been a culture of learning in the workplace? Or are there too many barriers to learning?

According to a report by the UKCES called Engaging low-skill employees in workplace learning, “low-skill employees were keen to do training and they expected to do their jobs better; be more satisfied with their work; learn skills to do their jobs better; and sometimes achieve qualifications from workplace learning. But what happens if the worker’s level of English is not high enough to undertake a course?

Are many low-skilled workers non-UK nationals?

The Office for National Statistics tells us that in 2016, 11% (3.4 million) of the UK labour market were non-UK nationals. 14% (approx. 508,000) of workers in the wholesale, retail, hotel and restaurant industries were non-UK nationals and 12% (approx. 382,000) of workers in the financial and business services sector were non-UK nationals. 701,000 non-UK nationals work in public administration, education and health roles. The highest number of non-UK nationals (669,000) are employed in low-skilled elementary roles. A report by Migration Watch shows that almost 2 in 5 of non-UK nationals are in jobs that they are over-qualified for and over one third of all EU10 (Eastern European countries) migrants are employed in the lowest skilled elementary occupations – there are more EU10 migrants employed in low-skilled work than skilled work.

Is English Language Training worthwhile?

English lessons for non-UK nationals is important whatever their skill level. English Language training improves communication skills and increases confidence and motivation of workers. It also reduces human mistakes and adds real performance benefits to the business. Many non-English nationals are employed in the Hospitality, Health, Retail and Distribution industries and, having delivered English communication skills training in these industries, Commercial Language Training Ltd has seen the benefits.

CLT improves communication skills at Hawksmoor Restaurants in London

Communication skills play a major role in customer satisfaction both in industry and commerce, but renowned London-based Hawksmoor restaurant group also realise the value of good English skills in hospitality. Members of staff from porters and bartenders to waiters and commis chefs have all improved their English with CLT. Hawksmoor called in CLT to design tailored English packages for their international employees, with group classes ranging from beginners to advanced level. Staff from Hawksmoor restaurants in Air Street, Guildhall, Seven Dials and Spitalfields have all taken part in the popular training programme and feedback has been very positive:

“We noticed that we had people who were being held back by their lack of English – in and out of work – and it felt unnecessary for people to struggle over something so fundamental.  We thought we could do something about it and the response from the staff has been great.” Will Beckett, Owner, Hawksmoor


Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts staff improve their English skills through on-site group classes

English lessons for Warehouse staff at Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts in Milton Keynes and Customer Service staff in London have also proved successful. Our tutors delivered the training at the client’s premises at a time which fitted in with shift patterns. As well as working on pronunciation, vocabulary and general language skills, our tutors also used original material such as working documents and manuals as a basis for discussion and role-plays to improve English communication skills between warehouse staff and line managers.

To book your English course call +44 (0) 203 036 0770

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