English language programmes

If English is not the main language for some of your employees, they may be interested in attending an English language programme, either in their own time, or as part of a programme delivered in the workplace.

How might English language challenges impact your workplace?

Employees without English as their main language may be competent at the technical aspects of the job, but challenges with English may impact on other areas, for example:

  • Misunderstanding instructions can lead to
    • mistakes and rework
    • excessive wastage.
    • accidents and near misses.
  • Fear of speaking out can lead to
    • a lack of engagement at tool-box meetings
    • reluctance to question or talk to colleagues or sub-contractors.

What are some of the benefits of improving English language skills?

  • Increased productivity and profitability including reduced error rates and less time per task.
  • A higher-performing workforce, better team performance, greater participation in team, toolbox and other work meetings.
  • Enhanced compliance and reputation, fewer workplace accidents, more accurate near-miss and incident reporting, greater participation and engagement with health and safety processes.

Where can I get help?

English Language Partners New Zealand (ELPNZ) has 22 centres nationwide. They teach English for work and everyday life in New Zealand. They offer a wide range of programmes, for example

  • English for your staff
    • ELPNZ designs training specifically tailored to your employees’ language needs. They work with your business to determine the training focus.
  • English for employees
    • Free 30 or 45 hour, part-time course (residents with a full or part-time job).
    • Improve job-related English skills.
    • Learn more about Kiwi workplace culture and how to communicate well with customers and staff.
    • Focus on work-related literacy and numeracy.
  • Online programmes
    • Small, online classes (free for residents and citizens).
    • English for work, everyday life and academic study.
    • Part-time classes taught by qualified teachers.
    • Classes for all levels.

There are likely to be other English language providers operating in your region.

Costs for English language programmes

Note that many of these courses are free for New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. If your employees are on temporary work visas, there is likely to be a fee for a programme.

Other useful resources

Read this news article from ELPNZ about an English language programme at Hamilton-based Tika Interiors Ltd, a commercial interior fit-out business.

Find education providers in your region who offer English language programmes on the Government's Skills Highway website.