Employment is widely recognised as a key factor in the successful integration of refugees. We are therefore very excited about a new employment initiative for refugees kickstarting this summer!
As a church, we have partnered with the Refugee Council for the past 3 years to help support refugees in the UK through different initiatives. We want to support the Refugee Council in creating opportunities for employers in our church and community to get involved and make a real impact, by helping refugees overcome some of the barriers they face, such as lack of UK experience, unfamiliarity with the job seeking process, lack of references and long periods of unemployment.
The Refugee Council is currently developing a streamlined programme to support refugees from professional and semi-skilled backgrounds to re-enter the workforce through paid professional internships. They are also looking to expand their current successful Starbucks programme to create more opportunities in retail and hospitality by including other employers. That is, the refugee clients who go through the training and orientation with Starbucks to also feed into other hospitality/retail roles.
Sam shares about the programme: “It was a perfect life for me before the war. Then the bombing started. My school was bombed. Some of my friends died. That was the last time I had any schooling. I was 12 years old. When I started the Starbucks course I was scared a bit because I have not studied anything since I was 12. But the trainers made it simple, asked simple questions so I could make a simple answer. And I got the job. I have so much making up to do for all the time I have wasted. I want to live. I lost years of my life. I am making it up now.”
For the programme with professional and semi-skilled refugees, the Refugee Council is running a pilot programme to include 10 – 15 clients from a range of backgrounds to attend a 3 day work-readiness training session in late July/early August. The training will include sessions on topics such as, the UK workplace, being work ready, building self-awareness and a personal brand, communication skills, business writing, as well as delivering a pitch and interview techniques. Post training, clients will be matched with appropriate employers to interview for a 12 week paid internship.
Opportunities for employers to be involved in this programme, include:
- Skilled Volunteering – Involvement in the 3 day training programme
- This could include hosting, facilitating workshops, volunteering as a ‘table moderator’ to assist with activities, volunteering to deliver a mock interview to clients
- Hosting refugees for paid internship
- Support for employer
- ‘Working with Refugees’ training for manager and team – one hour workshop delivered by Refugee Council staff
- Internship Objectives – objectives set at commencement of internship with Refugee Council template – ensuring the opportunity is meaningful for intern and employer
- 4 and 8 week check-ins – Refugee Council to make sure everything is going well, if there is any feedback or further support needed by the intern
- Evaluation – discussion around opportunities for ongoing work, or how best to leverage experience
- Ongoing support for client – Interview preparation, weekly check-ins, end of internship presentation
- Support for employer
For more information about this amazing programme, to express your interest in getting involved or to share ideas, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!
To read more about the successful Starbucks Employment Support Programme and Building Bridges (helping refugee health professionals join the NHS) with the Refugee Council, click here.