Resources English Language Requirement (ELR) » ELR Learner Stories

English Language Requirement (ELR) is a government initiative designed to help people in Wales improve their English language communication skills (or where appropriate Welsh), in order to improve their prospects of securing work and leading independent lives.

Serco delivers the ELR programme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through a network of local subcontractors.

WEA YMCA CC Cymru is one of Serco’s expert ELR providers, delivering the programme across Wales, including Bangor, Gwynedd.

Iliana Kamenova

- ELR learner shining through

Iliana Kamenova is 26 years old and from Bulgaria and has been accessing ELR in Bangor.

When Iliana first joined the ELR course she was very quiet, shy and insecure about herself and her ability to learn English. Iliana’s confidence and English language skills grew hugely as the weeks went by and as a result she became much happier and confident in herself.

Iliana became a very cooperative and interactive learner and started helping others in the class.  She participated enthusiastically in group discussion and lost the fear of making mistakes when using English.

The class tutor Ana Gomes is very skilled at engaging nervous learners and the class delivery focused on building skills in English speaking and listening using a variety of different methods - group discussions and debates, role play, learning language patterns that can be used in different contexts, learning language that will help with daily life, critically analysing video clips on relevant issues, and clear instruction on grammar and related language building blocks.

Ana ensured activities gave Iliana sufficient opportunity to express herself, her likes and dislikes, her opinions and her preferences. The language content covered in the sessions had to be put in a context relevant to Iliana so that she found it easier to relate to and participate.

Ana also ensures that class sessions have a bespoke element and identified that Iliana needed support to access healthcare and worked with here to give her the skills to register with a GP in her local area. 

Iliana says “I’ve been living in Wales since May and I’ve attended an English course through the ELR project.  My proudest moment was when I successfully completed the ESOL NOCN Entry 1 qualification.  This means a lot to me because I was finally able to communicate with others, ask for things and express my opinions and preferences.  In no longer feel so isolated and insecure.  I no longer rely on my fiancé for everything and I feel much more independent and confident because of this”

Ana says “Iliana was an outstanding student who did her best at all times.  It has been wonderful to see Iliana’s personality shining through and to see her become more bubbly and confident.”

Iliana is now looking for work in the Catering and Hospitality industry and is confident in her language skills and her ability to go through the job interviewing process successfully.  She has now joined WEA YMCA CC Cymru community ESOL courses as she is determined to continue to improve her English and secure employment.

“My tutor was great!  She made the lessons fun and really enjoyable” explains Iliana “I was a little insecure and shy to begin with but Ana encouraged me to talk and to not be afraid of making mistakes.”

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- Learning for a better life

Cheng has been engaged with the ELR Project since September 2015 and has made excellent progress in her English language ability. 

Cheng is originally from China and has been residing in the UK for the past two years.  During this time, she has made great effort to learn the English language and is committed to improving her skills.  Due to personal circumstances and challenges much of Cheng’s prior English language learning was undertaken independently.  She used the internet and persevered with watching English language television to build a good range of vocabulary to enable her to communicate socially and look for work.  Her enthusiasm and commitment to learning the language was obvious at the initial assessment stage where she expressed an interest in improving her reading and writing as well as her speaking and listening skills.  In response to a question on free time activities, Cheng placed English language learning high on her list.  Eager to learn, Cheng has become very proficient in the skills required to meet an entry one standard in both speaking and listening.  Her grammar and pronunciation is markedly improved. 

She has overcome a number of personal barriers during her time on the project and is gaining in confidence.  Cheng participates fully in all activities and applies what she’s learnt to her life by continuing her independent study between classes.  She has grasped the opportunity of participating in the project with both hands and is noticeably more confident with communicating in English.   

WEA YMCA CC Cymru tutor Karina Scott says “Cheng has a great attitude for improving her skills and is clearly committed to continuing her learning.  Cheng is an enthusiastic, personable and trusting individual who is increasing in confidence following some difficult personal challenges and should feel very proud of what she’s achieved over the past few months.  I have no doubt that Cheng will secure employment in the future”

Cheng received one on one tuition and tutor Karina Scott tailored the class sessions to match Cheng’s interests and real life situations to keep the context relevant and appropriate for her individual needs.

Cheng enjoys attending the classes and will, in accordance with her own wishes, be referred to a local education provider on completion of her course to further improve her English reading and writing as well as speaking and listening.  Her tutor feels that this will not only help Cheng to build on her English Language skills but will enable her to build on her growing confidence and develop more social/community links.

Cheng is also being encouraged to attend the job club at her local Job Centre Plus.
She says “I want to learn because it makes me have a good life in the future.  I am so happy coming to English classes.  It makes my English much better than before.  The teacher is excellent; she teaches me and makes me understand very well.  I thank her a lot.  I can talk with people, make new friends.  I can find a job and have good life in future.”

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