English Lessons to Help Refugee Health Workers; A Social Enterprise Is under Way to Give English Language Training to Refugees in the UK So They Can Work in the Health Service. RACHEL WEARMOUTH Explains

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Byline: RACHEL WEARMOUTH

A MAJOR new contract has been secured to give English language training to refugee healthcare professionals.

Action Foundation announced the deal, signed with NERS (North of England Refugee Service), to train healthcare professionals aiming to work in the region's strategic health authorities.

The social enterprise will run four 60-hour courses over the next 12 months for refugees in the UK looking to achieve the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) qualification, from their classrooms at The CastleGate on Melbourne Street, Newcastle.

A high-level pass is required for non-European health professionals to enable them to practise in the UK National Health Service.

The training courses will be delivered by Action Language, a division of the Action Foundation charity. The course leader Ruth Oldham said: "The IELTS qualification we provide enables refugees who are also experienced health professionals to find work in the UK.

"We also welcome other learners of English who need to achieve the level of proficiency required to further their academic studies.

"Very often there is a mix of people on a course with some professionals needing to attend university courses to upgrade their qualifications in order to practice here."

Some of the training will take place online as the charity's work is expected to be extended in future.

Ruth added: "We have been offering English language courses for three years, and we have become recognised for the level of expertise we offer. …

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