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Helping migrant workers improve their language skills

Better language skills for migrant construction workers is the focus of the CoLa-project (construction-related language learning for low-skilled migrant workers). 


This project, co-financed by the European Commission, supports migrant workers’ professional career and social integration. It also aims to improve health and safety at European construction sites.

Construction is staffed by high levels of migrant workers. In many cases migrant workers lack host country and work-related language skills. Experts consider language deficiencies as a barrier to career development, to improving safety in the workplace and to a successful social integration. 

Tailored learning material

The CoLa project  started in 2011 and is co-financed under Key Activity 2 Languages of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme

The development of language learning materials tailored to the specific needs of low-skilled migrant workers is the key objective and cover three areas:

  • Basic language related to the construction sectors with a high proportion of migrant workers
  • Health protection and safety on construction sites
  • Social interactions

The learning materials include videos and supportive grammar and vocabulary exercises for use as a “toolbox” and on an e-learning platform. 

Different learning environments

The lessons have been developed for different learning environments:

  • Class-room environment (i.e. for times of unemployment when migrants are often sent to languages courses by Employment Agencies)
  • Language learning courses in or close to the working place with the help from mentors such as migrant community ‘leaders’ on construction sites with good host country language skills
  • Self-learning

Learning materials have been developed in the main languages spoken in the project partner countries:  Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish.

Want to participate in online testing?

The materials will be tested online by language teachers and a group of learners. 
Language teachers for construction-related topics can participate in the testing. Interested? Send an e- mail by using the contact-us button at the start page of the CoLa website.