Firas, of Syrian origin, was 22 years old when he arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand from a refugee camp in Lebanon. Firas, his parents, and some siblings settled in Porirua, and Firas joined us to learn English, with a vision of developing his English language to a level where he could return to his career in welding.
When Firas joined he had absolutely no English, and it was midterm, so we placed him into an ESOL Literacy class for 10 hours each week to learn the basics – the alphabet, numbers and some vocabulary and pronunciation.
Two months later, Firas moved to the next step in the Porirua centre’s English language pathway, starting our 15-hour ESOL Intensive class, and in 12 months he completed both the beginner and the foundation levels.
The next step was the NZQA New Zealand Certificate in English Language; two full-time courses (each level is 5 months in length). When a learner has achieved these they are considered to be at an intermediate level of English … a level where, according to Philippe Legrain (2017), 59% of people obtain employment.
Firas completed these two courses and whisked away to do a Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) course with the Ministry of Social Development.
Firas really enjoyed the LSV course: ‘I could not have done LSV without having done NZCEL Level 2. But doing that English course and then going on the LSV course meant I could use the English I had learnt to make Kiwi friends which helps me with my life here. This has all changed my life”.
After the LSV training, Firas obtained employment at Fraser Engineering in Lower Hutt, working in the welding team, as he dreamed.
After only two years in Aotearoa New Zealand, he’s contributing to his community. Firas will continue upskilling and is enrolled to do his welding certificate early in 2019.
Firas was dedicated to following the ESOL pathway to employment/further study that our Porirua centre recommended, attending classes regularly, and doing what he had to do to develop his English.
He’s now well on his way to successful resettlement, having achieved the major goals of learning English to a sustainable level and obtaining sustainable employment. Well done Firas! You did the work, achieved the reward… and it only took a couple of years.
The Certificate of English Language course Firas studied is available in several English Language Partners centres around New Zealand. Other courses are also available to improve your English. Contact your nearest centre to inquire about the best course for you and your skill level.