Thousands of Ukrainians to be offered free English lessons to help job prospects

Up to 10,000 Ukrainians are being offered free English language lessons in a bid to improve their job prospects in the UK.

Some of those who have fled the war in their homeland and settled in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be given almost 20 hours of online English learning a week over a period of 10 weeks, the Government said.

The announcement comes on Ukrainian Independence Day.

Other employment support over 12 weeks will include advice on how to find jobs, CV writing and application support, as well as one-to-one interview practice, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said.

The latest Government data up to August 14 shows that 184,400 Ukraine Scheme visa-holders have arrived in the UK under either the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

Survey results published in July suggested more than half of adults who fled Ukraine due to the war want to stay living in the UK even when it is safe to return to their home country.

Some 52% said they intend to live in the UK most of the time when they feel it is safe to return to Ukraine, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The majority of these people said this decision was because there are more opportunities for work in the UK, according to the survey, which was based on data collected from 10,709 people aged 18 and above between April 27 and May 15 2023.

Minister for housing and homelessness Felicity Buchan said: “Ukrainian Independence Day is a time to celebrate Ukrainian culture and traditions, as well as our shared values.

“It is also a sombre reminder of the need to continue to support our Ukrainian friends in their fight against Putin’s barbaric invasion. We continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

“These new English language and employment support courses add to the package of wider government support in place to help Ukrainians find work and settle into our communities while it’s not safe to return to Ukraine.”

World Jewish Relief is the charity chosen in partnership with the British Council to run the online courses and the aim is to train up to 10,000 Ukrainians within a year.

Paul Anticoni, chief executive of World Jewish Relief, said: “We are proud of the difference that World Jewish Relief has made, and will continue to make, in providing essential support for those forced to flee by war.

“This much-needed programme will enable us to offer transformative language and employment support in partnership with the British Council to thousands more Ukrainians seeking to rebuild their lives in the UK.”