Introduction – Big Birmingham Hackathon – Winning solution/prototype
The Big Birmingham Hackathon Round 2 occurred on the 17th February 2022. The purpose of the Hackathon was to innovate a technology solution to encourage and support people from migrant communities wishing to enrol onto English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses in Birmingham (UK).
When a migrant arrives to a country with a different language the barriers they face multiply. Basic and fundamental tasks such as grocery shopping, attending doctor’s appointments, or registering for public services become great obstacles to navigate.
The overall aim of the winning solution is to address the needs of (im)migrant groups within Birmingham and allow them to integrate and participate in their local communities.
The Hackathon was in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Adult -Education Service. Support was also received from Birmingham City University who shared the event amongst there network.
After an intense three-day Hackathon, team ‘NewComers’ comprising of Anisha, Bijaya, Caroline and Luan were awarded the win!
Summary of what the winning solution is
The winning solution aims to create a website called ‘The ESOL Hub’ that helps (im)migrants in three key areas:
Connect with other new commers
Gain easy access to their local ESOL centre
Ease their contact with English-speakers
The winning solution will become a part of the ‘ESOL Hub’ a single point of contact website for anyone in Birmingham who would like to study ESOL. The project brings formal and informal providers together to meet the English language needs of Birmingham residents. Potential learners will be matched with the most appropriate provider by level of English, geographical location and preference.
The website will be launched on 25 April with an in-person celebration event at the end of June 2022. The winning solution from the Hackathon will be a great addition to the ESOL Hub and will support learners with registering with a provider and accessing English language learning tools.
The ESOL Hub will feature three key language learning tools that were made available by Easyrights and partners. These are:
Capeesh - Aimed at providing situation-specific language courses
CALST – Intended to train migrants in the pronunciation of challenging sounds and words in their new languages
Pathway Generator - Directed at breaking down complex bureaucratic procedures into actionable pieces of information. Will be largely accessed through a ‘Telegram Chatbot’.