New unionlearn leaflet encourages ESOL support at work

Unionlearn is launching a new leaflet which aims to encourage unions and employers to work together to help workers who would benefit from English language support.

Are we all speaking the same language?” highlights the need for good communication in workplaces, and points to the benefits of having workers who are confident with their English skills.

Unionlearn worked with unions, including UNISON and URTU to develop the handout which union reps and officers can use to engage employers. The National Association for Teaching English and Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA) also commented on the production on the new resource.

The handout highlights the reasons why supporting ESOL learning is good for the employer and the workplace too and provides suggestions for activity employers can take up with unions.

Improving English language skills in a workplace helps individuals, but is also good business. Staff feel more able, have a better understanding of specific instructions and policies, offer an improved customer experience, can make the workplace safer and feel more integrated.

The new publication is aimed to be a quick and easily accessible leaflet which reps and officers can leave with employers to read and ponder. It highlights what ESOL courses involve and the benefits for employers. It also includes some practical case studies which show good practise at workplaces that have supported workers through ESOL.

Unionlearn Policy Officer Kirsi Kekki said:

Good communication makes all workplaces better. It is also a joint interest for both unions and employers. Besides language skills ESOL learners develop confidence and that benefits both the employer and the individual.

Employer support for ESOL learning therefore has a number of benefits which need recognising. Unions, such as UNISON or BFAWU, have done a stellar job in engaging employers to support ESOL and helping to bring ESOL learning to where it makes a difference and that is in the workplace.

We hope the new leaflet opens more doors and helps employers think of ESOL as business as usual."

To download the leaflet go to