A group of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students at Burton and South Derbyshire College have been taking part in a work placement with staff and volunteers at the National Memorial Arboretum.
The students have been undertaking grounds and memorial maintenance work across the Arboretum’s 150 acres of land, which encompasses 30,000 trees and more than 300 dedicated memorials. The partnership has given the Arboretum additional help with ensuring their grounds are maintained for visitors, whilst providing students with the opportunity to gain work experience and develop their English skills further.
ESOL courses are designed to develop the speaking, writing, listening and reading skills for people whose first language is not English. Taking part in work placements co-ordinated by the College’s Employment Hub, gives ESOL students the opportunity to develop their communication skills further in the workplace.
ESOL student, Hamza Ahmed Parveen said: “I have enjoyed the work experience and gaining skills working on-site. I am taking an ESOL course to improve my English skills and help me get a good job in the future. I am looking to study a Motor Vehicle course at the College next year to become a mechanic.”
Paula Kovacs, Inclusion Officer at the National Memorial Arboretum commented: “The students have done an amazing job and have worked outside in all weathers. Much of the work we do to maintain our grounds relies on the hard work of our volunteers and work experience placements. Our vast grounds require a lot of maintenance to ensure the Arboretum provides a scenic and reflective place for our visitors, so to have jobs like this done for us by the students is absolutely fantastic.
“Not only have students gained work experience and been able to expand their English skills, they have also had the opportunity to find out more about the Arboretum and look at the different zones which cover a range of nationalities. We are always encouraging more young people to visit the Arboretum and we are set to launch a project in conjunction with Burton and South Derbyshire College IT and Graphic Design students to create an augmented reality app in the near future.”