QED, Career advice and learning in Madrassas (CALMS)

QED is a Bradford based national award winning charity founded in 1990 to address poverty and disadvantage by supporting the social and economic development of minority ethnic communities living in the UK.

With support from the Department of Education it delivered a two year project called Careers Advice and Learning in Madrassas (CALMS) which gave tailored career and learning advice to young people (13-16 year olds) and their family members who attended madrassas after school. Over the life of the project it provided support to 400 young people and their 800 family members including parents living in 3 regions of England with a high ethnic minority population (Yorkshire and the Humber, North West and East Midlands).

CALMS offered a wide range of services in Madrassas including improving knowledge of learning, education and employment opportunities and self-confidence skills for young disadvantaged people and their parents. It helped young people to have greater aspirations, aiming high with the support from their parents and advisor.

A case study              

Preya is a 16 year old girl newly arrived in Leicester from India. As they had recently arrived to the UK, Preya and her parents were unaware of what educational support they could receive to help Preya with her studies. Their main focus of need was around support on education and learning for Preya, however, they were also facing financial crisis as they were paying a considerable amount of money for school transport costs as Preya’s school was far away from home.

In terms of educational needs, Preya and her parents were seeking advice and support on career options and directions at school and post 16-education. They were particularly interested in learning and understanding about modern apprenticeships, full time education and employment opportunities. Overall, they wanted general advice and support about the UK education system, career options information and assistance with their transport costs getting to school. Due to these financial, educational and domestic issues, Preya had a lack of concentration and confidence which was resulting in a less than expected performance at school.

The support provided by CALMs has not only supported Preya with her studies and improved her educational achievements, it has supported her parents to improve and develop their financial situation and employability skills to obtain work by referring the parents to mainstream support providers including Welfare Benefit Advisors on which benefits they can claim.

Preya was referred to Rathbone Apprenticeships to find out more about what apprenticeships are available, Leicester City Council for support with regards to her high transport costs, and her school on issues around better learning, career options and directions.

Preya commented that “This project has been very helpful and I feel lucky that I have been able to take part. The bond between me and my mother has got stronger as a result of CALMs. I am more confident and aware what my options are. I think my life will improve a lot from now on”.


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