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In Brief

* Language courses to help ethnic minority workers improve their English and boost job opportunities, developed by inner city trainers in the Midlands, are now being offered nationally.

The Vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages (VESOL) courses were piloted last year by Coventry's community education scheme under a Pounds 240,000 grant from the Department of Trade and Industry's Inner City Task Force in partnership with the city council.

Two coursework packages on the elderly and childcare - which enable successful students to gain qualifications accredited through the open college network - are now generally available. Courses being offered in Coventry, based on development work conducted in Foleshill and Hillfields, inner-city districts where large numbers of people with a first language other than English live, also include information technology and book-keeping.

Training providers can either buy the fully developed coursework folders, which sell for between Pounds 15 and Pounds 24, or visit Coventry to learn more about the VESOL approach, project organiser Margaret Begg said.

"People tend to reach a plateau in their learning of English. Enabling them to learn vocational skills at the same time as improving their language is a strong motivator."

Coursework packages and information on VESOL are available from: Margaret Begg, VESOL Project Organiser, Community Education Office, South Street, Coventry CV1 5EJ. Telephone: 01203 223831.

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