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Cambridge English boost opportunities for refugees

Cambridge English Language Assessment is offering free online courses for university applicants and volunteer teachers

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | August 21, 2017 | Technology

Earlier this year more than 1,600 people signed up for Aim Higher, a free online course designed by specialists from Cambridge English to help refugees to access higher education. The MOOC (massive open online course), run in partnership with FutureLearn, gives advice and support on the English language skills needed for university level study and includes the insights and experience of students who have gained places at UK universities.

Now, the team at Cambridge English is putting the finishing touches to another free online course which will develop the skills of people who want to volunteer in refugee communities around the world, particularly in roles which provide formal or informal support with language learning. More than 1,600 people have already registered for Volunteering with Refugees, a free three-week course that will introduce some  key concepts in language teaching and give participants an oversight of the special challenges involved in supporting refugees.

Monica Poulter from Cambridge English led the development of the course, in partnership with course leader Kate McAllister and Darren Abrahams of Crisis Classroom, a social enterprise which trains volunteers to work with people who find themselves in crisis both inside and outside the system.

Poulter explained: “We developed these courses because we believe that language skills can help to give people the opportunity to integrate into a new community and take back control of their own lives. English is a crucial skill for everybody, and we realised that by joining forces with great organisations like Crisis Classroom and FutureLearn, we could use our skills to help increase access to English for refugees.”

English is a crucial skill for everybody, and we realised that by joining forces with great organisations like Crisis Classroom and FutureLearn, we could use our skills to help increase access to English for refugees

Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn commented; “At FutureLearn, we’re passionate about helping everyone fulfil their potential in a changing world, by transforming access to education. Enabling refugees to develop their English language skills is fully aligned to our company ethos and mission so we’re delighted to be working with Cambridge English on this course, and we hope it will make a very real difference to people’s lives.”   

Cambridge English has been shortlisted for the Championing Diversity award at the PIEoneer Awards 2017 which are designed to honour achievement and recognise innovation in the international education industry. The nomination is based on the online courses Aim Higher and Volunteering with Refugees, as well as other initiatives to support refugees which include the donation of technical equipment, bursaries and free language lessons. 

Cambridge English is part of the University of Cambridge, with a mission to help people to learn English and prove their skills to the world. Every year, more than five million people take Cambridge English exams in over 130 countries.

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