Fiona put her language skills into practice by volunteering with Catalyst

Fiona Duarte has been volunteering for Catalyst Gateway since February 2016, helping our residents to increase their confidence in speaking English.

“I qualified to lead Speaking English with Confidence classes. But before going into teaching I was keen to gain some volunteering experience of putting into practice what I had learnt,” said Fiona.

Following contact with Catalyst Gateway she started offering a weekly get-together for residents at O’Grady shelter housing scheme who wanted to improve their conservational English.

“The objective is get everyone to talk as much as possible. So we talk about topics that are fun and interesting. It’s important to create an environment that everyone feels comfortable taking part. After all, the aim is to increase their confidence in speaking English,” Fiona added.

And she is benefitting too from volunteering: “The people I am engaging with are very enthusiastic and keen to learn. I am learning a lot about my style of teaching and what works or does not work,”

Fiona is also complimentary about the support from Catalyst – “Catalyst Gateway provided all the necessary material I needed and also arranged for me to be assessed on-the-job. This has been very helpful in improving how I manage the group and in introducing new topics.”

Around ten residents have been involved and with the help of Fiona they have increased their confidence in using English to book their GP appointments and do other everyday activities.