Wellbeing and Work for Refugee Integration

The project is based on the principle that being economically active is the most significant step towards becoming integrated in UK society.

Among resettled refugees living for a year in the East of England, as of September 2018, only 4% were in employment, despite high levels of attendance in ESOL (English) classes. 

While many refugees, show an eagerness to work, unemployment levels remain high, in part because of the barriers they face in accessing a job. Specific challenges include: lack of UK work experience, lack of adequate language skills, lack of knowledge of work place culture to find, apply and interview for a job, challenges in recognising or translating their skills, qualifications and experience, or justifying gaps in CVs caused by the lack of right to work during the asylum process. 

Employers often lack awareness and knowledge about the hiring of refugees, including limited understanding of qualifications, and permission to work. Educating employers and bridging the gap between the refugee community and the corporate world is necessary to overcome these barriers to refugee employment.

Key strands of the project between 2020-2022 will focus on data collection and audit of skills and personal information from almost 600 refugees in order to identify gaps that make access to the labour market difficult and pathways to employment the beneficiary should access.   Three pathways have been developed:

1) To provide therapeutic support and meaningful activity to alleviate anxiety, coping with ‘survivor guilt’ and adjusting to life in the UK, to be delivered by the Refugee Council, plus in Suffolk by the Health Outreach Service.

2) ESOL and skills programmes leading to a work experience opportunity and a subsequent reference from a UK employer, to be delivered by Essex Integration, BRASS, Gladca, Norfolk County Council, PARCA, the Refugee Council and Suffolk Refugee Support.

3) A specialist ESOL and skills programme for construction industry and refugee entrepreneurs, courses and mentoring to be delivered by Concept Training and MENTA.

This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.  Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.

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