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Healthcare ESOL

Partnership information


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The work of this DP relates to two vital Government strategies: increasing the number of employees in the National Health Service (NHS) and social care providers in England, and tackling the differentials between ethnic groups in the labour market.

NHSU (the NHS University), the lead partner, and Ufi/ LearnDirect, are both national organisations with experience of working with ethnic minority groups and developing e-learning programmes. They have combined with healthcare employers, Trade Unions, ethnic minority and disadvantaged national, community and voluntary groups, and policy and decision-making bodies and organisations to work towards removing barriers to healthcare employment for unemployed ethnic minorities.


The DP partners believe that the diversity of the NHS and social care sector workforce should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. They aim to redress this balance by improving the English language skills of low paid workers from ethnic minority communities, through developing, producing, testing, and evaluating an ESOL e-learning model specifically tailored to the language of the healthcare sector.


  • Hold a series of consultation workshops with NHS and social care employers and employees for whom English is not their first language
  • Determine the ideal design, style and content of the learning materials
  • Produce a blended e-learning prototype ‘Talking Healthcare’ including mobile phone activity and paper-based extension activities
  • Trial the prototype with 122 ESOL learners
  • Test the model in partner countries to assess the possibility of replication.

Target Groups

  • BME communities
  • Refugee and migrant workers
  • NHS employers  



Round 1 to Round 2

This Development Partnership was not involved in Round One.


Kath Jones, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust,


Action 2: 30 September 2007
Action 3: 31 March 2008

Equal theme

Ethnic minorities


The partnership was developed from the need to encourage members of minority language communities to apply for jobs in the healthcare sector. The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit final report of March 2003 asserted that ethnic minorities will account for half the growth in the work age population between 1999 and 2009. The health and social care sectors have a workforce of 3.4 million and by 2014 an additional 1.6 million employees will be needed to meet expansion and to replace those leaving or retiring.

Intended impact/ sustainability

Teaching English to people for whom it is not a first language through a programme embedded in the context and language of health and social care should encourage more people to apply for jobs in that sector. By providing prototype contextualised language materials, the partnership intends to enable groups to gain employment commensurate with their skills and qualifications to the benefit of themselves and the health service. With the production of the full suite of modules, the skills and experience of this largely under utilised group can be more fully harnessed.

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Practice X X X X
Policy X X
City Local Regional National European


NHS employers, employees who have English as a second language and ethnic minority communities have been consulted to inform the content of the model in all regions.


DP partners include government departments.


The model has been tested in London, Liverpool and Sheffield.


The model has been tested in local language minority communities.


The model has been tested in three regions in England: London, the North West and Yorkshire.


The model has been tested in Copenhagen and Gothenburg.


Funding will be sought to produce a full package after the end of the project. Government departments asked to provide package free at point of need.


Policy makers will be asked to fund the take up of the developed package in their countries.

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Final report

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