As Teacher Therese BouAntoun explained: “Transport for London requires all minicab drivers to prove that they have good English language skills in speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing. When the Surma Centre asked us if we would provide the qualification that the drivers needed, we were happy to help out.”
The learners were all local to Camden, are from various ethnic backgrounds and are self-employed. Capital City College Training delivered two courses of eight weeks each, to a total of 36 drivers.
Nassar Ali, Strategic and Operations Director for the Bengali Workers’ Association (BWA) which runs the Surma Centre said “BWA’s close links to the community means that we are able to recognise the unmet needs of local people and fill the gaps in service provision. This is exemplified by the achievements of the minicab drivers, where we worked with them to find a solution to TfL’s requirement for them to prove that they had the required English language levels to continue to earn a livelihood and support their families. Our partnership with Capital City College Training helped to come up with a solution for the unmet needs of minicab drivers.”
All the students were extremely happy to have passed their course first time. Jahdur Chowdhury, one of the successful students said: “I enjoyed the course so much I referred a friend. I learned a lot, the main reason I did the course was to get my private hire driver’s license but I improved my English too.”
Teacher Therese BouAntoun praised the class by saying “The class were very serious about passing the course. They worked hard throughout Ramadan – when fasting often places extra pressures on Muslim learners – completed all the homework I set and were happy to stay late and study. They enjoyed improving their English as well as passing the test.”