Talk English scheme is transforming lives

More than 2,000 people across Kirklees have increased their language skills thanks to a project run by Kirklees Council.

Who has benefited from the scheme?

Learners from over 50 different countries – ranging from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe – have benefited from the Talk English scheme, which supports people to access employment, education and training.

Developing English language skills also raises aspirations and helps residents to make a positive difference in their local community.

What is the Talk English scheme?

Talk English was launched five years ago and delivers courses in a wide range of venues for people who speak little or no English. Volunteers work with learners to develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing – making them more independent and able to access new opportunities.

Most learners say they want to improve their language skills so they can either go to college or improve their chances of gaining employment. Courses are often based in some of the most socially excluded communities in Kirklees and, following the support of Talk English, participants are helped to access other training opportunities which help them achieve their aspirations.

Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for Economy and Skills, said:

“Talk English is a vital project which is transforming hundreds of lives every year. Learners feel more independent, comfortable and confident in their communities. They can progress to higher learning courses, build their career prospects, increase personal development and ultimately secure a job.

“We have had learners from 53 countries, which shows the great diversity of Kirklees and also demonstrates the reach of Talk English. The council aims to tackle social isolation and is also ambitious for local residents. We work hard to ensure education, training and employment are accessible for all.”

Chinara’s Story

Chinara is a 25-year-old woman from Dagistan, Russia, who came to the UK in 2016, shortly after being widowed. She knew very little English when she arrived and was keen to develop her language skills in order to enhance her employment prospects and improve her new life.

After starting the Talk English course, Chinara was soon attending three classes a week and her English has improved to the point where she can confidently converse with her peers on a wide range of subjects. She is now actively volunteering and working with refugees and asylum seekers, encouraging them to learn English and improve their prospects in their new home. Chinara is looking forward to further improving her English and finding a job.

Do you know a person or a group who would benefit from a Talk English course?

To be eligible, learners need to be over 19 years old and have few or no English language skills. New courses are available and you can find out more by contacting our partner organisation, Paddock Community Trust, on 01484 431400 or email

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