Olfa Ep Garraoui, who now lives in Rhos-on-Sea, moved to Wales on a permanent basis in 2013 and could not speak any English at all. In 2017, she enrolled on a series of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) at two Coleg Llandrillo community locations in Colwyn Bay (Town Hall and Greenfield Road), as well as the college’s Rhos-on-Sea campus, in order to gain a command of the English language. She even took her one-year-old boy into class, feeding him as she took notes!
After progressing on to the teaching assistant courses - completing Levels 1, 2 and 3 - she has now secured a job as a teaching assistant at Ysgol Glanwyddan in Penrhyn Bay. Even though she contracted Covid-19 the same month she was due to finish her Level 3 qualification last summer, she still completed!
Olfa, who has two young boys, eventually decided to join her husband - who had been working in the UK for 20 years - permanently eight years ago. Even though she now has an excellent command of the English language, it is her third language: her first being Arabic, and second, French.
After completing her Level 1 and Level 2 teaching assistant qualifications, she secured work placements at Ysgol Craig-y-Don, Deganwy (before Covid-19). The head teacher at her new school in Penrhyn Bay remembered Olfa, as she used to be deputy head at Ysgol Craig-y-Don.
Olfa’s tutor Susie Noden commented: “I was her first teacher in the ESOL department. Firstly, in a community class setting, before managing to persuade her to attend classes in the college. She thrived, and then went on to take the teaching assistant courses at Levels 1, 2 and finally 3 with Andrew Ogle. She is an inspirational student with drive , commitment and passion, and we all wish her well in the next chapter of her life.”
Olfa’s wanted to address her quote to her tutors Andrew and Susie: “Thank you for listening, for your guidance and your inspiration. Thank you for your encouragement and for being there. But most importantly, thank you for being a part of my journey.”
Asked what is next on her learning journey, Olfa said: “I now want to learn how to speak Welsh.”
For more information on ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) or teaching assistant courses at Coleg Llandrillo, please contact the college’s Learner Services team on 01492 542 338.