AN Iraqi refugee who fled his country has won an English language learning award just three years after arriving in the UK.

Hasan Jasim arrived in the UK in 2018 with no English, having fled Iraq five years earlier. After dedicating himself to learning English, he has now been able to get a job, pass his driving test, and feel like part of the community.

In Iraq, Hasan was a nurse, and he dreams one day of returning to this career.

His commitment to learning English has meant that in just three years, he’s gone from speaking no English to winning a national award – a crucial steppingstone towards his goal.

But work hasn’t been Hasan’s only motivation for learning English.

Since starting language classes with The Adult Learning & Skills Service from North Yorkshire County Council in Colburn, Hasan can now read his children’s schoolbooks and help them with homework and speak to neighbours and family friends.

He’s left behind the isolation he felt when he first arrived and has a newfound confidence and sense of belonging and feels better able to support his family.

During lockdowns, Hasan has been studying hard for his next set of exams whilst also enjoying learning online with his classmates, moving him another step closer to the job that he loves.

Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which aims both to celebrate the power of learning to transform lives, and to encourage more adults to take part. Hasan has won the English Language Learning Award.

Hasan, winner of the English Language Learning award, said:

“When I first came to the UK, I couldn’t understand anything around me, and I wanted to learn English because it’s important for me to be able to communicate. I used to be a nurse and my dream is to study at college and pass my exams so that I can do that job again. Lockdown has been hard. It’s harder to talk to people and improve my English, but I’ve been using the extra time to study for more exams and I can see myself making progress."

His teacher Catherine Monaghan said: “Hasan’s commitment to studying has been unwavering. I feel certain that he will take on a new role as mentor and advocate for the value of learning English to integrate into a new country and culture."