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Refugee Week at Eastleigh College

This week we are celebrating the hard work of our refugee learners here at Eastleigh College.

Refugee Week is a nationwide festival that honours the courage, creativity and contributions of refugees who have been displaced or are seeking sanctuary. 2022 marks its 25th year of operation and this year’s theme is ‘Healing’, exploring the ways in which we can learn from refugees about demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity and bouncing back from devastating situations. Resilience is also one of our four College values and this week encourages us all to reflect on this important quality and how it can enrich our wellbeing.

We are proud to have recently signed the College Sanctuary Pledge, establishing our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for learners who have been displaced by war or conflict. The last two years have seen an increased number of refugees join us from Iran, Afghanistan and Ethiopia, while earlier this month we welcomed a cohort of 24 refugees who have been displaced by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Adult refugees have access to our wide range of ESOL courses, which equips learners with the English skills needed for living and working in the UK. Those aged 16-19 are also eligible for our dedicated SLUKY provision, which encompasses Maths, ICT and sports learning in addition to English, with the same objective of being able to help learners integrate into UK living. We recently caught up with individuals who have been involved in our SLUKY provision.

Erfan Nematollahi Haghighi is from Iran and joined SLUKY two years ago. He commented: “When I first joined SLUKY at Eastleigh College, I could speak basic English but my reading and writing ability was poor. It helped my confidence in the language so much and I noticed improvements quickly – by the end I could write detailed emails and formal letters, both handwritten and typewritten”. Erfan has since completed a further Functional Skills course and is now studying a Level 2 qualification in Plumbing at the College.

Manpreet Singh is from Italy and also joined SLUKY two years ago. He said: “I never thought learning English could be fun before I joined the SLUKY course at Eastleigh College. We did a lot of activities around English words and I could feel my confidence growing each week thanks to support from my lecturer Richard Allan. There was also lots of group work, which helped me get to know people from different cultures and countries.” Manpreet is now about to complete his Level 1 qualification in Motor Vehicle studies and has high ambitions for a career in the motor industry.

Djoulde Bah couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to the UK from Guinea in 2007. His SLUKY course was the beginning of a thrilling educational journey that has led to a strong engineering career. Read more on Djoulde’s story here.

Richard Allan has been a SLUKY lecturer at the College for four years. He commented: “The SLUKY students already have their own incredible stories. It is an enormous pleasure to work with them every day, to watch them grow and develop and to make a real difference to their futures."

For more information on our SLUKY course, please click here.

For any further queries, please contact the College at