AMIF Employment Project for Refugees Across the East of England

The Strategic Migration Partnership has secured a substantial project worth in excess of £2 million to overcome the barriers to employment to facilitate more refugees moving from benefits into employment.

The AMIF (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) project, which is ultimately funded by the European Union but administered in the UK by the UK Responsible Authority (UKRA), will run until December 2022 and will have three strands which are being delivered by partners across the region:

  • A mental health and wellbeing programme to overcome the effects of past trauma and allow refugees to move forward into good mental health and improve their confidence, recognising that a good job can help restore a sense of purpose and self-worth.
  • A network of employment advisers to assess refugees’ past skills and experience, identify gaps, look at the opportunities in the local job market and produce action plans to move refugees into training and work; this strand also includes employer liaison officers to build relationships with employers of all kinds in the region and facilitate connections with employers willing to give refugees work experience leading to employment.
  • A series of “English and Skills” courses for various industries. The aim of these courses is to ensure refugees have the specific skills they need to enter a particular industry. The first course has already been produced and facilitates work in the hospitality sector, including obtaining a food hygiene certificate. The other industries have yet to be decided but may include health and social care, childcare with a focus on nurseries, construction industry with CSCS cards and logistics/warehousing/factory work.

However, the world of work is likely to be changed after the coronavirus lockdown, so we will need to liaise with our local Job Centres to make sure that we are preparing people for working in those industries which need to recruit workers in the towns and cities in our region. We are also looking at how we can offer some English and Skills programmes in virtual classrooms, should the social distancing rules need to be prolonged.

Project manager Louise Gooch said: “We are sure that this exciting project, thanks to AMIF funding,  will enable a wide range of people to overcome the various practical, emotional and systemic barriers they face to move from benefits into work over the course of the project. We look forward to working with partners large and small to achieve these goals.”

As employers, councils have a role to play and we will be speaking to your HR teams to see how we can secure work experience for people in schools (in kitchens and classrooms) and in social care provision. If you have other employment networks that we can tap into we would be pleased to hear from you: Please contact Louise Gooch at [email protected]

If you want to help the charities, businesses and councils working on the project, please get in touch with:

Concept Training

Essex Integration



Norfolk County Council (People from Abroad Team)


Refugee Council

Suffolk Refugee Support