ESOL for Skills

Publication Details

This report from the Lifelong Education Commission argues that, in the face of an acute skills crisis in Britain, better provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages – ESOL – should now be a key strategy for tackling skills gaps and skills shortages. While in the past the delivery of ESOL has been framed as an important way of ensuring community cohesion and social integration, it now needs to be seen as a vital component of a strategy for economic growth. ESOL for Skills should now be the priority, and policy and funding should be reformed to support this focus.

There is a growing pool of migrants, many of them skilled and experienced professionals, who are UK residents. The biggest barrier they face to filling jobs in shortage areas is their ability to communicate in English, not just basic everyday English, but at a level of competence in speaking and writing that enables them to work effectively in highly skilled occupations. Greatly improving the delivery of ESOL is the best way of mobilising the skills that exist amongst the migrant population.