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First Ukrainian refugee enrols at B&FC

Published on 26/04/2022 by SGLAS

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Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Seasiders Campus is delighted to welcome Vlad, a 26-year-old Ukrainian refugee who has recently arrived in the UK having made the painful decision to flee his war-torn homeland. Vlad, who is now living with Max Fox, a Poulton resident, has enrolled on one of the College’s free courses to learn English so that he can communicate with both his host family and, in due course, with the wider community. This is especially important as he has already received news of potential work opportunities so learning English will be critical to helping him integrate at work too.

The College is keen to point out that the usual funding rules around length of residency in the UK have been waived so that any Ukrainian refugee can get funding for courses that they would normally have had to wait 3 years to be eligible for.

“We are aiming to provide as much support as possible for those who have been forced to leave the Ukraine and who want to make the most of the educational opportunities on offer here. And that doesn’t just include learning English. We understand that many refugees will already have qualifications from Ukrainian institutions and we are anxious to help them make the most of these by providing extra support as and when we can and by offering them the opportunity to progress their education whilst they are resident here”, says Linda Smith, Head of Management Information and Funding at the College.

Curriculum Manager, Alina Prylipko, who herself fled Ukraine in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimea, has been actively involved in helping her fellow Ukrainians adjust to life in the UK. Through a community hub, Alina has been able to provide information and support about what College has to offer and has been helping people to enrol on the English Language courses here. Of course, some refugees are highly qualified individuals and Alina is keen to ensure that they can access the kind of training which may help them to find work whilst they are resident in the UK. With this in mind, she is currently in the process of organising a Career Advice session at the College which she hopes will enable people to make progress in this respect.

“Blackpool and the Fylde College is exceptionally well-placed to support refugees not only in terms of providing them with key language skills but also with the wealth of employment-focussed courses they have to offer.”

And for those individuals who have entered the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, that means being able to access fully funded training. What’s more, students who are 19+ will also receive a free bus pass and food vouchers if they can show they have applied for Universal Credit.

As Alina says:

“Whilst none of this changes what’s happening in Ukraine right now, having so much support, seeing that people really care and encouraging refugees to integrate into the local community makes a world of difference to people who have potentially lost everything.”