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About Us

The Department for the Economy (DfE) currently funds the delivery of ESOL formal language training through its network of 6 local further education (FE) colleges in Northern Ireland. This provision is free to all people seeking asylum, refugees and those granted humanitarian protection. Migrant workers from the EU and elsewhere are required to pay a fee contribution towards the costs of courses. Voluntary and community organisations also provide informal English classes to speakers of other languages settled in Northern Ireland including economic migrants, international students, refugees and other displaced people.

The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) in Northern Ireland helped reiforcing the need for this central ESOL coordination and collaboration between FE Colleges, community sector, and relevant statutory agencies. The ESOL NI coordination and network also played an integral role towards establishing the ‘NI ESOL Policy Advisory Group’ led by the Department for the Economy (DfE).

Being able to speak the English language is key to confidence building and successful integration. The NI ESOL Policy is an important step forward in recognising the valuable contribution speakers of other languages offer to our society.

The ESOL NI Network was launched in June 2018 at the Belfast Met. It consists of approximately 90 English language registered providers and over 300 key stakeholders.

In November 2018, ESOL NI was delighted to officially become a member of the Stronger Together Northern Ireland Community Network .


In addition, the ESOL coordination plays an important role as part of the Belfast City of Sanctuary committee representing the Belfast Met as the first awarded College of Sanctuary in Northern Ireland.

As a collaborative network, ESOL NI recognises volunteer tutors contribute significantly to the English language learning provision across the province. We work closely with community sector partners, including the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (ESOL Courses – BURC).

BURC established a regional support network for volunteers and teachers engaged in English language tuition through a community of practice that offers:

-          Recruitment

-          Selection

-          Induction & training courses

-          Vetting

-          Coordination

-          A forum for sharing ideas and resources

If you are interested in getting involved as an ESOL volunteer in Northern Ireland, please complete our ESOL NI: Volunteer (esolwebapp.azurewebsites.net) form and you will be contacted with further details.

You can also ask to join a closed Facebook group for ESOL teachers and volunteers in Northern Ireland  ESOL Teachers Network NI | Facebook, or choose to become a member of the Island of Ireland Branch (natecla-ioi.org).

Contact Us

    If you wish to enquire about anything, please feel free to contact us at:
  • Ligia Parizzi
  • LParizzi@belfastmet.ac.uk
  • 10 Girdwood Avenue
  • Belfast
  • BT14 6EG