English Language Partners’ learner Firas Shagouri embarks on a pathway to employment.
Firas Shagouri, 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 were settled in Porirua and Firas joined us at ELP Porirua to learn English, with a vision of developing his English language skills to a level where he could return to his career in welding.
When Firas joined ELP Porirua he had absolutely no English, and it was midterm, so we placed him into an ESOL Literacy class for 10 hours per week to learn the basics of the alphabet, numbers and some vocabulary and pronunciation. Two months later Firas moved to the next step in the ELP Porirua English language pathway, starting our 15 hour ESOL Intensive class, and over 12 months completing both the beginner and the foundation levels.
The next step in the pathway is the NZQA New Zealand Certificate in English Language Classes; full time classes that are 5 months in length. When a learner has completed 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 classes and whisked away to do a Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) course with the Ministry of Social Development. Firas really enjoyed the LSV course, saying ‘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”.
Upon returning from LSV training, obtained employment at Fraser Engineering in Lower Hutt, working in the welding team, as he dreamed. Firas, after only two years in Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing to his community. Firas will continue upskilling, and is enrolled to do his welding certificate early in 2019.
In a nutshell, Firas was dedicated to following the ESOL pathway to employment/further study that ELP Porirua recommended, attending class regularly, and doing what he had to do to develop his English. Firas is now well on the 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. Contact your nearest centre to enquire about the best course for you and your skill level.