‘Refugees have so much to offer’ - Refugee Council
August 11, 2014

‘Refugees have so much to offer’

Refugees face many barriers to accessing employment. Here, our employment projects coordinator Bahar Nassiri describes how we help refugees recognise and achieve their potential.

Refugees face many obstacles in their search for a job; including language difficulties, a lack of familiarity with the way the UK job market works and employers failing to recognise refugees’ documents and right to work.

Our job is to help people navigate the system and set realistic goals of what they’d like to achieve. The people we see are really eager to find jobs, despite the multiple barriers they face.

Through our project, we offer information, advice and guidance on employability skills. We help people prepare for employment, offer career advice and advice on getting into further education or voluntary work.

We sit down with our clients and help them explore realistic options in depth. We then help them achieve their goals by developing a personalised action plan and following up with a mixture of one to one and group support.

Sadly, many people have lost their confidence and have to be reminded of the skills and experience they have.

Our target is to help 60 people a year, but last year we ended up helping over 150 with the help of our dedicated volunteers.

We’re absolutely smashing all of our targets actually;

  • Our target was to help 6 people achieve a qualification, but we actually helped 45.
  • Our target was to help 6 people access volunteering, but we actually helped 23.
  • Our target was to help 10 people get a job, but we actually helped 48.

I’m really proud; we’re achieving a lot with very little resource.

Our clients come from a variety of different backgrounds but can often be well educated and highly qualified. We’ve worked with doctors, lecturers and engineers; becoming a refugee isn’t a privilege of the poor.

Refugees have so much to offer and that’s what we help people try to understand. We don’t do things for people though; we give them the tools they need and empower them to help themselves but we support them all the way through when they need it.

It’s a big challenge, but the rewards are even bigger; this project changes people’s lives.