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About Us

The Department for the Economy 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 asylum seekers, 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 deliver mainly informal English classes to speakers of other languages settled in Northern Ireland including economic migrants, international students, refugees and asylum seekers within the community setting.

The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) in Northern Ireland helped re-enforcing the need for this central ESOL co-ordination and collaboration between FE Colleges, community & voluntary sector and relevant statutory agencies. The opportunity presented by the Home Office of funding an ESOL VPRS regional coordination post means a step forward in relation to a potential ESOL Strategy for NI. 

The role of the ESOL NI Regional Co-ordination point is to:

·         Ensure availability of quality provision throughout Northern Ireland – Mapping and ensuring accessibility of quality provision throughout Northern Ireland by co-ordinating a consistent teaching approach, good governance mechanisms and appropriate infrastructure provision.

·         Co-ordinating delivery between community based provision and college based provision, including progression from Pre-entry level English classes to accredited provision at Entry Level 1 and above.

Based on the work done previously by EMBRACE NI in mapping out the ESOL provision in NI, the Department for the Economy completed a scoping exercise on the regional provision. This mapping exercise evolved to the development and creation of the ESOL NI website and online platform.

The ESOL NI Network was launched to the English language sector at an event on the 27th June 2018 in the Belfast Met and counted with approximately 80 attendees between teachers and volunteers, college representatives and community and voluntary sector providers of ESOL training.

In November 2018, ESOL NI was delighted to officially become a member of the Stronger Together Network Consortium with our web link page featuring into the Network’s website.


We recognise that volunteer tutors contribute significantly to the ESOL delivery throughout Northern Ireland. The ESOL NI co-ordination point works closely in partnership with the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) in order to facilitate and co-ordinate a regional support network for volunteers and teachers engaged in English language tuition.

The aim of the ESOL NI Volunteer/Teacher Support Network is to develop a framework support programme including:

-          Recruitment

-          Selection

-          Induction

-          Vetting

-          Co-ordination

-          Development of a potential regional mechanism for sharing ideas and resources

-          Governance

-          CPD programmes

If you are interested in getting involved as an ESOL volunteer with a range of different initiatives in Northern Ireland, please complete our ‘Become a Volunteer’ form https://esolwebapp.azurewebsites.net/volunteer and you will be contacted with further information.

Follow us on social media!

More information on ESOL in Northern Ireland is available on

Facebook (www.facebook.com/ESOLNI) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/esol_ni)

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