Refugee Week 2024

17 Jun 2024

Today marks the first day of Refugee Week 2024!

Our Refugee Employability Programme (REP) teams across London and the North East are spending the week out in their local communities, hosting and supporting events celebrating this year’s theme of ‘Our Home’.

Individuals accessing REP are assigned a dedicated Case Manager who makes a personal development plan to support them to integrate into their new lives. This includes support with improving English language skills, finding a job, securing housing, and much more.

Today, our team in London was proud to co-host the Central London Refugee Job Fair in Islington, where 28 employers with open roles across London met with refugee job seekers to help break down barriers to employment and share information about vacancies.

We were pleased to be joined by our supply chain delivery partners Catch-22 and Shaw Trust who also attended the day to provide support to attendees.

We’re proud to have worked in partnership with the London Borough of Islington, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Ingeus, Refugee Employment Network, Renaisi, Tent UK and Westminster Employment Service to bring this event to life as part of the Greater London Authority’s No Wrong Door initiative.

In the North East, our team attended the Walk of Sanctuary, marching in a colourful display from Sunderland Minster to Barnes Park where a picnic took place allowing refugees in the local area to socialise and feel a part of their local community.

Alba’s story

Alba left her career of 17 years in El Salvador, before coming to the UK as a refugee. When Alba joined the Refugee Employability Programme (REP), she met with her Case Manager Georgina, who she made an instant connection with.

Georgina identified that improving Alba’s English would increase her chances of continuing her career in administration in the UK. Together they explored other job opportunities that aligned with the Spanish language, so that Alba could work whilst pursuing English language studies. This would help her to improve her English without the pressure of fluency.

“Alba connected with Helen and Sara, our dedicated ESOL trainers, who guided her through countless language exercises. Alba’s determination to learn was evident as she practiced tirelessly, turning broken words into flourishing conversations,” said Georgina.

Our Case Managers can assess current ability and if needed, refer to an ESOL Trainer. Our ESOL Trainers deliver in-person English classes and can deliver online too. The group classes with other likeminded learners help with engaging in English conversations, meeting new people in the community and deeloping a better understanding of the English language.

Together Alba and Georgina created a new CV and cover letter, tailored for a cleaning role at her local health charity. With support from Georgina, she applied for the role, and with help from the rest of the team at REP, Alba completed mock interviews, honing her answers and building her confidence, ready for the real thing.

Alba was invited to interview for the cleaning role, and was able to put her practice to use, which paid off. Going into the interview with a newfound confidence and leaving with a job offer was a highlight of Alba’s new chapter in the UK.

Georgina shared: “We provided Alba with a monthly travel pass, to ensure her financial transition back into work didn’t impact her. Alba’s English continues to improve day by day, and her new manager is so impressed by her efforts, that they have suggested a role in their administration department on completion of her English course.

“Alba’s story reminds us that barriers can be overcome, and dreams can flourish even in unfamiliar lands. Congratulations Alba, and best of luck for the future!”