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Shelley Purchon

I established English Unlocked in 2018 to help companies build better relationships with their clients who have English as an Additional Language.

Our first course was English Unlocked communication training which shows staff how to slow down for non English speakers without dumbing down. Like all our courses, it is available face to face and remotely.

Next up, in response to requests from existing clients, I developed a course to train public sector staff to work effectively with interpreters. Staff need to know how to work in harmony with interpreters and how to recognise competence in an interpreter, so they can identify the best ones and book them again. This webinar will become available as an interactive eLearning course in spring 2021.

For better or for worse, many staff members are turning to machine translation to overcome barriers in the workplace. This is not always advisable but can sometimes be invaluable. Our third course trains staff to know when it is and isn't appropriate to resort to Google Translate, and how to get the best out of it. This course became available in 2020 and addresses a skills gap which no other training companies have tackled.

I developed the communication skills course as a direct result of personal experience. When I moved to Spain in 1994 I couldn’t yet speak Spanish. My struggles to understand the locals gave me a great insight into how it felt for my English language students, who were struggling to understand me. Both these stands of experience fed into the way I spoke English to non Anglophones: slower, clearer, devoid of clutter, but still with a correct grammatical structure. All good ESOL teachers speak this way, but few of them have shared their expertise with professionals in other fields. English Unlocked communication training lets others in on the tricks of the trade.

Overcoming language barriers through training is something I love to do and it's an emerging field. With budgets tight in every sector, we all need to get creative about how how we support clients who have English as an Additional Language.