We’re delighted to welcome two new faces to the Action Foundation team. Joanne Norton joins our charity as Action Language Project Manager whilst Shahnaz Shoueib has joined our InterAction team as a Project Support Officer.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Newcastle and brought up in Washington, Tyne and Wear. I was a competitive swimmer as a child and still enjoy being in or near water. I left the area at age 18 and enjoyed studying in Glasgow and working in Germany, London and Tokyo. These days, my two boys keep me busy as the taxi driver! My youngest son is a diver. He has no fear, but I do, so I spend time holding my breath watching him go off the five-metre board. My other son is football mad, as is my husband, so he does the cold, wet pitches and I hang out in the nice, warm swimming pool. A four-legged friend called Charlie also keeps me busy. He lives with my parents, but I do a large part of the walking so that helps to keep me fit and relaxed.
What’s your career background?
After being a business student and having a sales job in London, I sat on a beach in Turkey looking out to sea on the last day of a holiday and decided that I was going to quit my job and work abroad. I took a TESOL course and then got a job teaching in Japan. I loved everything about it and stayed for four years. When I returned to the UK in 2002, the passion for teaching English was with me. ESOL provision was quite new to the North East so I quickly got a job at Sunderland College, then Westgate Community College in Newcastle and then, after a few years break, I worked for Newcastle College. ESOL is always changing but the students are a joy to teach and I have always been enthusiastic about creating interesting and useful resources which focus on developing real life skills and knowledge.
What drew you to apply for a job at Action Foundation?
Improving the learning experience and helping people move on to have a comfortable, independent life is what has always driven me in my work with ESOL. Systems can be very slow and difficult for asylum seekers and refugees. I hope to be able to help with co-ordination of learners in this area so those that really need ESOL lessons can get access quickly and easily. I have heard good things about Action Foundation so I hope I can contribute to this reputation.