Case study by East Midlands Councils, March 2023
Less than a year since moving over 5,900 miles from Hong Kong to start a new life in the UK, Astrid Hui has landed a new role teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Just weeks after arriving in the UK last July, Astrid saw an advert for free TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses in Nottingham.
Having studied Primary Education in Hong Kong and majoring in English Language, teaching English in the UK seemed like a logical next step.
Just six months on from beginning that course, Astrid is now working as a part-time tutor at Language Tuition Nottingham, the place where she achieved her CertTESOL certificate in January.
Astrid, who’d previously worked as a Communications Specialist, said: “In Hong Kong, teaching English was very different. The pupils’ hearts were not in it the way that they are here.
“Here, there is a real need to learn English, and teaching is helping to make a real difference. When I saw the flyer for the free TESOL courses, I thought about what a brilliant idea this is, and the difference I could make helping people who need to learn the English language settle into their new country.”
Funded by East Midlands Councils via national Government funding, Flying Cows Learning offers a programme of courses which aims to increase the capacity of ESOL tutors in the region by offering TESOL training to people who have moved to the East Midlands via Government resettlement programmes and visa schemes, including the Hong Kong BNO visa programme, Ukrainians and former asylum seekers.
Mandy Middlecote, programme co-ordinator said, "The main aim of the programme is to create a pipeline of people who can teach English to others who have settled in the region by training them and helping them get into work either as volunteers or as paid employees."
"Our graduates have first hand experience of the issues faced by people who have settled in the UK and understand the importance of helping others learn English so they can integrate into their communities. As well as helping others learn English, our graduates inspire others in their local communities and beyond."
The programme offers a variety of course levels, from courses designed for people with lower levels of English ability who want to volunteer or help others in their community to the world renowned Trinity CertTESOL for those looking to have a professional TESOL career. As an added bonus, the CertTESOL course generates free ESOL classes, when students undertake their required supervised teaching practice.
Astrid undertook the Trinity CertTESOL which lasted for six months, and during that time, she had to balance studying with caring for her two primary-aged children.
The hybrid course included both online and face-to-face practice sessions.
Astrid said: “There was a time when I was struggling to balance the course with visiting family and looking after the children, but the tutors were so understanding and helped me move my studies around so that it wasn’t so overwhelming.
“And what’s great is that the support didn’t end when the course did. Since I completed my certificate, Flying Cows will still reach out with job opportunities, so there is continued support once your course had ended too.”