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Breaking down barriers with the National Initiative for Creative Education

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The National Initiative for Creative Education (NICE) works to improve the employability, self-esteem and communication skills of young migrants.

Based in Hull at the Afro-Caribbean Centre on Park Street, the charity works closely with the public sector, voluntary organisations and local businesses to provide a wide range of creative and innovative services.

“We were established in June 2016,” says Anna Grzybowska, Director of NICE. “Our main work focuses around supporting migrants to gain access to education.”

One of the charity’s core services is immigration advice, which is offered by a team of multilingual advisers. Meanwhile, its Learning Sanctuary empowers young people that have recently arrived in the UK to boost their educational opportunities and guide them through completing their GCSEs. The children can then grow up with the qualifications required to fully integrate into the community and improve their chances of having a better life.

“We run a special programme for newly arrived young migrants who are about to take their final exams,” Anna tells us. “These pupils are usually between fifteen and sixteen years old and currently at Key Stage 4 level.”

Some of these qualifications include Functional Skills English and Maths, BTEC Arts, BTEC Fire and Rescue, Sport, Healthy Cooking, BTEC Creative Media and BTEC Performing Arts.

“Usually, it takes two or more years to prepare for GCSE exams and these children are coming in a year later, with the extra barrier of not speaking fluent English. They are in a disadvantaged position,” adds Anna. “This is why NICE has put together a programme that allows them to gain vocational qualifications in English, Maths and ICT. We’re actually at our KCOM Learning Zone today preparing to welcome new migrants for next week.”

Meanwhile, adults have access to language skills, too. With a range of informative English classes, NICE enhance people’s understanding of spoken and written English, teaching practical words and phrases to help them confidently communicate in the real world.

On hand at the centre is also a mix of interpreters, available to translate Polish, Russian, Romanian, Portuguese and Italian, plus many more languages. This is especially useful for those needing to contact and talk with schools, hospitals, social and legal services, letting agencies and the emergency services.

The NICE team also has a deep understanding of the culture of the respective countries, which proves very reassuring for migrants when they first arrive here. 

In short, Anna and her team members strive for equal access to Hull-based services. They work tirelessly to act as a voice for those experiencing language and communication barriers, and give children the best start in their new lives in the UK.

NICE is just one of the many organisations that KCOM has helped with our Community Grants scheme. Find out more about the National Initiative for Creative Education and support the charity any way you can.

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