Restore has been running Equipping Refugees for Work (ER4W), our interactive employability training since 2012. The aim is to help refugees become more job-ready through monthly training sessions and one-to-one mentoring. The project uses Restore’s network of volunteers and expertise in working with refugees. Topics covered include CVs, job applications, job search, employment contracts, the benefits of volunteering and interview skills. There are also opportunities for practise interviews and feedback.
All sessions are very interactive so our refugee clients leave having practised skills and with ‘homework’ to do with their mentors. Many have had a wide range of work experience in their home countries prior to being forced to flee, but have not been allowed to work in the UK until recently receiving leave to remain. They have gaps in their CVs and difficulty navigating a new employment system. Their English language skills also vary, so the mentor’s role is helpful as we seek to meet diverse needs.
Feedback has been very positive:
“Coming to ‘Equipping Refugees for Work’ was an eye opener for me. It really helped me learn how the work environment is here in the UK compared to my home country. I learned how to write a CV and a covering letter and how to prepare for an interview. We have been given handouts during each session of the project which I always read to refresh my memory about what I have learnt so far and try to put it into practice. For refugees and asylum seekers, this is the kind of project that will really make a difference in our future lives here in the UK.”
Another participant wrote: “The training built my confidence to apply for job’s, fill forms, attend interviews and to transfer the skills I have to another job.” And we know that he has found a job and started developing a new career.
In 2016, we had an average attendance of 35 refugees at each session and ER4W did not run in 2017 due to staff capacity.
In September 2018 we ran two Equipping Refugees for Work training sessions on interview skills and had an average attendance of 24 refugees. We were very encouraged that more women attended this morning course compared to when the course was in the evenings. During the interactive elements our volunteers, who have a wide-range of experience, were able to work with the participants in groups of two or one-to-one. As the morning time-slot clashed with some refugees ESOL classes we are re-running the interview skills training on two Tuesday afternoons in November. We are extremely grateful to Refugee Action for funding this work. For more information please see: Equipping Refugees for Work – November 2018