Case study: Yuma

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Yuma would like to become a social worker one day – and after learning to speak English in just nine months, it is a realistic ambition.

She had come to England from Spain with very little English and at first spent a lot of time at home as she lacked confidence.

But getting involved in the Connecting Opportunities project run at Horton Housing’s training centre opened up a whole new world to her. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with money raised by the National Lottery, and the European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme.

Yuma’s enthusiasm and commitment to learning English in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) saw her make rapid progress and within six months she had gone up an incredible six levels.

Yuma has gone on to complete Open University Courses at the training centre, including Support in Action, which trains people in how to support others in a learning environment. With this skill she applied to become a volunteer at the training centre, helping learners by translating for them and supporting others to learn English.

She has also gone on to become a Connecting Opportunities mentor. This saw her mentor a small group of participants on skills they would need to develop to gain employment. She took them to the Bradford Volunteer Fair to show how volunteering could improve their CVs. She also helped with a cultural orientation trip to the National Science and Media Museum, translating some of the information on display.

Yuma has also managed to fit in doing Open University courses in ICT, personal finance and sustainable energy.

Yuma said: “Everybody here is so nice and the teachers are amazing. I am happy doing English, happy volunteering and I am happy and comfortable here.”

Jayne Walker, key worker for Connecting Opportunities at Horton, said: “The positive transformation of Yuma demonstrates how a positive attitude combined with motivation, drive and determination can lead to success. The sky is the limit!”