Positive Smiles earns council commission

By Tim Aldred

16 Feb 2024

Positive Smiles Shabir Siddiq

Positive Smiles has been appointed by Preston City Council to deliver a programme of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to help improve the employability of residents.

Positive Smiles specialises in delivering ESOL and other skills support to residents who may experience social exclusion, economic inactivity or unemployment. Their team collectively speak seven languages and have worked with a range of communities, particularly Asian heritage and East European, as well as refugees and asylum seekers.  

The community interest company is already well known across Blackburn and Darwen and has a track record of success, having begun in the pandemic providing mental health and wellbeing support, alongside language training.

The Preston project will be financed by the UK Prosperity Fund, with the city investing more than £1m of its allocation specifically to target and enhance employability and skills across the city. 

Positive Smiles will deliver non-accredited ESOL classes in community venues to cater for pre-entry and entry level. Anyone aged 19 and over can sign up.

The classes will combine soft skills and practical learning opportunities to help learners gain English language skills to support them to move closer to securing jobs or onto further learning.

Students will have individualised action plans to help them access the right level of language class and other skills they may need, such as CV writing or finding volunteering opportunities.  

Shabir Siddiq, director of Positive Smiles, said: "We know there is a real need for something like this in Preston and we are looking forward to building upon the work we have already done elsewhere in bringing our classes to Preston." 

Coun Nweeda Khan, cabinet member for communities and social justice, said: "Language skills are so crucial in helping people fully participate in society and feel that real sense of belonging.

"We very much look forward to working with Shabir and his team to offer this exciting curriculum to Preston communities in 2024/25."

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