European Centre for Modern Languages

Language for work competences

Competences helpful to professionals and others when supporting work-related majority language (L2) learning by migrants and ethnic minorities

Setting 3: Learner, L2 teacher, L2 learning provider, job centre, VET (vocational education and training) providers, volunteers and/or other partners in the community


Learner
L2 teacher
L2 learning provider
● Job Centre
● VET providers
● volunteers 
partners in the
community
This setting may include quite a number of different partners: learners, teachers, language and VET providers. Sometimes it includes job centres, and/or volunteers and other partners in the community. In other cases, there are just a few partners. The learners may be unemployed, job-seekers or participating in VET programmes. Aims may include social integration.

Examples of this setting 

 

 

 

ALL (Ireland) 

Irish and English are the official languages in Ireland, and although Irish has status as the first language in Ireland, it is a minority language. The ALL programme aims to help public sector organisations in Ireland...

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Insieme nell’accoglienza (Italy) 

To help integrate asylum seekers in the labour market and community, a formal network of state institutions (Prefettura, the Job Centres of the Province of Treviso, CPIA), private organisation (small and medium enterprises...

View example

Volunteer workplace tutoring scheme 

This scheme was initiated by a large, not-for-profit organisation to support its own migrant staff. The organisation provides adult social care services, including residential care, day care and home care...

View example

L2 teacher competences

The teacher is familiar with

  • the local/regional labour market situation
  • the qualification structure and forms of education and vocational training provision in place
  • procedures for the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad or informally
  • the educational and VET systems of the countries of origin of learners or is able and ready to search for such information
  • language and communication requirements in workplaces, which are of interest/accessible to own learners
  • funding sources

The teacher is aware that/of

  • education, work, administration are different functional systems with own aims and goals, requirements, procedures, etc. and is ready to find a realistic and satisfactory interface for the work-related L2 development of the learners
  • the difference between work-related language skills and vocational competence: the difference between the language skills requested by the workplace organisations and those requested by the work content/tasks as such, and can raise awareness among the other actors, in particular VET teachers
  • the impact that the specific psycho-social situations of migrants in particularly refugees may have on the language learning process (e.g. very limited networks with L2 speakers, co-presence of different languages in every-day life, etc., traumatic life experiences)

The teacher is able to

  • cooperate with VET and other teachers, for example to assess /identify jointly the age-appropriate L1 literacy and grade/level-appropriate content knowledge of the learners in order to develop tailored provision
  • cooperate with other actors/stakeholders, volunteers, job centres, mentors, employers, etc.
  • establish, maintain and support contacts with the communities to which the learners belong, in order to promote the importance of work-related L2 learning
  • raise awareness among actors/stakeholders of the difference between work-related language skills and vocational skills
  • strike a balance between own aims/goals (as L2 teacher) and aims/goals and requirements, interests of the language provider, of the labour market (administration) or other stakeholders and those of the learner
  • analyse the language and communication requirements of specific workplaces, and work-related language needs and language competence of learners
  • develop a realistic curriculum accordingly
  • negotiate the curriculum with learners and other relevant key actors, such as job centres to accommodate possible different needs/requirements
  • implement work-related language specific classroom management including use of digital and mobile devices, for example
    • by developing tasks which link classroom and workplace/every-day life
    • by enhancing learners’ capacity to identify language-related requirements in workplaces/jobs of interest for them
    • by enhancing learners’ capacity to self-evaluate and monitor own L2 progress
    • by using coaching approaches or initiating/supporting peer learning
  • Provide information, guidance and advice to learners on work-related L2 issues 

VET teacher competences1

The VET teacher is familiar with

  • the concept of integrating language learning with subject-matter learning (Content and Language Integrated Learning, CLIL)

The VET teacher is aware that

  • VET instruction can support the L2 learner to develop language skills, including language for study

The VET teacher is able to

  • cooperate with the L2 teacher to support language development through VET instruction

1 Includes any non-L2 teacher, e.g. teacher of engineering skills, health and social care skills, mathematics/numeracy skills, etc.

L2 learning provider, VET provider competences2

The L2 / VET provider is familiar with

  • the local/regional labour market situation
  • the qualification structure and forms of VET provision in place
  • procedures for the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad or informally
  • the educational and VET systems of the countries of origin of learners or is ready and able and to search for such information
  • language and communication requirements in workplaces, which are of interest/accessible to own learners and requested by the local/regional labour market
  • legislation and regulation re the employment of migrants and refugees
  • language requirements of jobs
  • funding sources

2 Learning providers are organisations providing either L2 instruction or VET instruction, including adult education centres. Competences are required of anyone in the organisation who represents the provider with external actors.

The L2 / VET provider is aware of

  • the needs of staff and is ready to
    • support staff with equipment, contacts for placements, visits, finding information on recognition of foreign qualifications, foreign educational systems, etc.
    • provide professional development for own staff, for example in response to new challenges, e. g. new job profiles, new work content through digitalisation, etc.

The L2 / VET provider is able to

  • identify (and combine) funding sources
  • provide information, advice and guidance for learners to support their language and vocational development and/or support teachers to do so
  • network, in particular with
    • local employers in order to organise work placements, visits to companies, needs analysis, etc.
    • voluntary sector organisations, chambers of commerce, trade unions, employers’ associations, local government, round tables/initiatives to boost local economy, etc.
    • VET schools and centres
    • migrant organisations
  • advise job centres on educational needs of clients
  • negotiate fair conditions for work placements, qualification courses, etc.
  • carry out needs and requirements analysis or support own staff to do so
  • promote the issue of work-related L2 development and market own offer/provision with job centres and employer in different ways
  • reach out to workers whose contracts are precarious (see extra dimension)
  • plan different sort of interventions, e. g. communication training for staff in job centres for accessible communication, advise employers on screening documents, how to support L2 development on the job, etc.

The L2 / VET provider is familiar with

  • barriers and enablers for L2 acquisition and development by adult migrants and refugees

The L2 / VET provider is aware of

  • the challenges of acquiring L2 and vocational competences at the same time, in particular for those learners with limited, interrupted or no formal education

The L2 / VET provider is able to

  • support L2 acquisition and development of adult migrants and refugees, for example through professional development of teachers, etc.
  • build relevant relationships, for example with labour market actors
  • raise awareness with employers, instructors, job centres, migrant/community organisations regarding the challenges migrants face as L2 learners

Job centre competences[1]

Job centre staff are familiar with

  • assessment and training systems and can advise clients accordingly
  • systems and procedures for the recognition of foreign qualifications or informally achieved qualifications and can advise clients accordingly
  • issues related to psycho-social situation of migrants in particular refugees (living, family, culture, housing, insecure life prospects, trauma, limited L2 networks, etc.)
  • language requirements for different jobs
  • barriers and enablers for L2 acquisition and development by adult migrants and refugees

Job centre staff are aware of

  • catchment area and its needs
  • different educational systems and educational backgrounds of the clients
  • issues related to psycho-social situation of migrants and refugees may impact on L2 learning

Job centre staff are willing and able to

  • investigate the educational backgrounds of the clients, including the educational systems in their countries of origin

Job centre staff are able to

  • match needs and offers
  • investigate educational/language needs of clients
  • distinguish between L2 needs and educational needs of clients (e. g. those with limited, interrupted or no formal education)
  • reconcile needs of the migrants with the requirements of the system
  • make some judgment on the L2 skills and language needs of clients
  • communicate accessibly (in writing and orally)
  • avoid taking either paternalistic or maternal positions in relation to clients
 

[1] Job centres are organisations providing support for labour market entry, including public organisations responsible for matching individuals in receipt of welfare benefits to employment opportunities. Competences are required of staff, including case managers.

Volunteer competences

The volunteer is familiar with

  • barriers and enablers for L2 acquisition and development by adult migrants and refugees
  • the current system of
    • language provision for adults
    • certification and assessment
    • recognition of qualifications

The volunteer is aware of / has some knowledge of

  • own role, that is they are
    • supporters, not teachers, of L2 learning/development
    • role models for learners

The volunteer is able and willing to

  • find the relevant information
  • cooperate and network with other actors: teachers, language providers, job centres, employers /representative bodies, etc.
  • make a case/be an advocate for the importance or work-related L2 development with the learners, their community, the majority community (individuals and institutions like local government, job centres, employers’ representations, trade unions, etc.) 

Competences of other partners in the community

The partner is familiar with

  • barriers and enablers for L2 acquisition and development by adult migrants and refugees
  • the current system of
    • language provision for adults
    • certification and assessment
    • recognition of qualifications

The partner is able and willing to

  • act as a ‘mediator’ between institutions of the majority society such as educational providers, job centres and own community members. In this context, can promote the issue of work-related L2 development, informing own members, inviting providers and job centres to present their services, etc.
  • support own members of the community (in particular women) so that they can attend work- related L2 provision
  • reach out to workers on precarious contracts
  • attract volunteers
  • organise volunteers’ support
  • celebrate role models (from the community) and achievements