Emma Stewart
Project Co-ordinator
Highlands and Islands

Supporting and connecting with people from Syria who are settling here in the Highlands is a really lovely job and an opportunity I am very grateful for. I plan and give weekly sessions on English grammar, vocabulary and various topics, as well as practicing various skills sets (e.g. speaking, reading, writing and listening). Relationship building and learning together as a group is a really important part of my role, and one which I very much enjoy and feel that the learners do too. Together we create a relaxed and pleasant learning experience; and see the groups’ skills and confidence grow as people start to create a new life here in Scotland with their English skills.

My role as an ESOL tutor as part of the Refugee Resettlement Programme brings together two previous career paths. I worked as a TEFL teacher over a 5 year period in Spain, Russia and Scotland. I also used to work for the Scottish Refugee Council in Glasgow and was involved in providing front desk service provision, as well as being an Asylum Advice Assistant. My role at the WEA is therefore a satisfying mix of both of these previous interests of mine.

The joy of adult education in the community and working for the WEA in particular is the liberty I have to respond organically to the needs of the learners. This keeps my role varied, creative and feeling useful and appropriate which is a good feeling as a tutor. The WEA also very much supports me to trust my professional judgement in my role. This helps me feel a valued part of the team; and definitely makes the WEA Highlands office a constructive and positive place to work and learn from.