“The WEA was the only one who gave me the opportunity to study classes that would help me to find work. When I came from Pakistan in 2021, I was looking for different courses because I was teaching in Pakistan, but the problem here was with my language. I needed to improve my English to be able to work. 

“I went to my local community centre, but they said I didn’t qualify for the funded courses because I’d not been in the UK long enough. They said I needed to be here for three years. I applied for a computer course but after one class, they said you are not eligible. Only their very basic courses were available to me.” 

The 49-year-old qualified teacher was then told the WEA could help – because her husband is an EU national, she was able to enrol with the WEA. 

Sumrah’s first WEA course was to help her pass her driving theory test. She then looked at courses to give her skills to work in the UK and is currently attending WEA ESOL and teaching assistant courses. Her tutor said Sumrah is extremely positive in her attitude and approach to learning, and is an inspiration to others. 

Sumrah added: “The courses have improved my skills and confidence. My certificates from Pakistan, including my master’s in chemistry, have transferred but I needed the language skills so I can be easily understood in the workplace. The WEA has given me the opportunity to learn English and start looking for jobs. 

“I’m so thankful - if it hadn’t worked with the WEA there was nothing for me. Without the WEA it would’ve been very difficult for me to start something – it was the only platform that gave me a chance to get out of my home and improve my skills.” 

Sumrah is currently applying to volunteer in schools and gain the practical experience alongside her teaching assistant course to re-enter the workplace. Her son is studying for his GCSEs and she’s keen to become more involved with the British educational system. 

Now that Sumrah has been resident in the UK for three years, she has registered with Birmingham City Council’s adult education for computer courses. The great news is she is also sticking with the WEA for most of her learning and plans to continue her journey with us too. 

Sumrah WEA learner
Lady in yellow jumper learning with the WEA on her laptop

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