Breaking the language barrier – Jose’s story

8 Feb 2024

The Refugee Employability Programme works closely with local refugee charities to identify individuals who could benefit from our service. As well as employment support, we offer English language classes and community integration support to provide a meaningful and holistic service.

Jose and his wife moved to the UK from El Salvador two years ago to start a new life. Prior to joining the Refugee Employability Programme, Jose was accessing support from local refugee charities and was attending an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course.

When Jose joined the Refugee Employability Programme, he was allocated a Case Manager – Holly - who assessed his needs and worked with Jose to develop a tailored action plan. Jose found that his main barrier to employment was his language barrier, so he continued to attend the ESOL classes to support him in finding work and assist in making initial contact with employers.

Jose was also looking for a role with flexible hours that would fit around his course. Our Case Managers are experts in job searching in the right places, identifying the right jobs for our Service Users to apply for, and then creating CVs tailored to those roles.

Holly said: “Jose wanted to continue with his studies whilst working, but as he was exploring jobs in the hospitality sector, I knew this wouldn’t be a problem in finding flexible hours to suit”, said Holly.

Together, Holly and Jose created a CV that highlighted all Jose’s skills and experience and was tailored to the hospitality sector. They also worked on building Jose’s confidence – something that Jose was lacking, particularly when approaching employers.

Within just a few days of submitting his CV, Jose was invited to interview at a large pizza restaurant chain. The full-time position offered flexible shift patterns, so was the perfect opportunity for Jose to work whilst continuing his studies. After practising mock interviews with Holly, Jose was feeling prepared and confident, and less than a week after his interview, he was offered the job!

Holly was on hand to support Jose with providing Right to Work documents to his new employer and reading through his new contract of employment, explaining how he would be paid, and the benefits and entitlements of his new job.

Holly also made sure that Jose – who is using his bike to commute to work – is as safe as possible on his commute, by buying him some bike lights and a bike chain – all funded by the Refugee Employability Programme.

Holly is in frequent contact with Jose, to ensure he is happy and his transition into work is as smooth as possible. Jose has since referred his wife to the programme and Holly is now working with her to find work too.