A student who barely spoke English eight years ago is set to start work with a major energy supplier after achieving a first class Master’s degree in Engineering.
Italian-born Enrico Tawiah, 24, is set to start work as an Operational Field Engineer on a graduate scheme with UK Power Networks this September.
He admits that he would not have gained his MEng if he had not previously studied an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
“I studied some English in school in Italy, but when I came here I realised that it wasn’t enough and found it very hard to communicate. I had a limited vocabulary and wouldn’t understand simple things, and would interpret things wrong,” said Enrico.
“I was improving slowly but I needed something more structured, so I did an ESOL course to get to a level where I could communicate to everyone.”
Born in Palermo, Sicily, to Ghanaian parents, Enrico grew up in Pordenone in northern Italy before moving to England with his family in September 2010 after he left school at 16.
After studying at CONEL he went on to gain a triple distinction on an Engineering Extended Diploma Level 3 and attain grades A and C in GCSE maths and English.
Enrico then completed an integrated MEng, which combines undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single course, at Brunel University London.
He said: “The teaching at CONEL was really good and improved my confidence. I also made a lot of friends here and talking to them in English really helped me.
“The further I went in my education, the more I knew I had to improve my English as the vocabulary became more technical.
“I always push for the best and aimed for a first class degree and I got it. Improving my English at CONEL helped me to achieve this and get a job, and I feel very excited about my future.”
While studying for his Master’s degree his third year project, a device to power medical implants using wireless technology, was selected for the Brunel Engineers Showcase.
A group project in his final year to develop a robotic lawnmower won a TWI Award for excellence in innovation in engineering.
ESOL teacher Oya Karabetca said: “Enrico was so motivated and had the right attitude from the very beginning. He was so inquisitive and wanted to learn beyond what we were teaching and he kept going.
“Enrico is an inspiration and a fantastic example to other students. I feel very lucky to have had the privilege of teaching such a wonderful student. I am so proud of him.”