Refugee employment project greatly exceeds targets

A project set up to help refugees find employment in the east of England has smashed its target – helping almost 1,800 people across the region.

The Wellbeing and Work for Refugee Integration (WW4RI) project, organised by the Strategic Migration Partnership, was originally tasked with supporting 1164 beneficiaries by December 2023.

However, the project has greatly exceeded its target, supporting a total of 1796 beneficiaries.

The WW4RI project aims to support refugees to gain employment, giving them the tools and skills to enter the world of work in the UK, while supporting their wellbeing.

Louise Gooch, who manages the project, said: “The WW4RI project has been a huge success.

“Refugees who have fled their home country to the UK have a range of skills and experience to offer – our goal was to support them in finding sustainable employment and developing their new lives in the UK.

“We are delighted how well the project has gone and look forward to seeing the achievements of the project’s successor.”

The most popular service WW4RI provides are English for Speakers of Another Languages (ESOL) courses, with the ESOL driving theory course the most subscribed of these with 417 enrolments.

Louise added: “The driving theory course is so important to supporting refugees get back into work.

“Not only does it allow them to apply for jobs at driving distance from their homes, it also gives them the freedom to take their families out for the day, to connect with the wider community and make new friends.”

The project has also supported more than 100 refugees take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Occupational English Test (OET) language courses, allowing them, once passed, to resume graduate level employment in highly-skilled sectors.

It has also supported a number of refugees to go self-employed or to set up their own businesses.

The project has been supported by more than 40 organisations and companies across the east of England, organising training days and work placements across the region.

The SMP is launching a successor to the WW4RI project, Employability for Overseas Nationals (EON), which will continue to support highly-skilled overseas nationals into employment, including a focus on recruitment into social care.

To find out more about the WW4RI project visit Wellbeing and Work for Refugee Integration – EELGA SMP

For more information on the EON programme, visit Employability for Overseas Nationals – EELGA SMP