Organisations that Help and Support Refugees To find work
There are a number of organisations that help and support people to find work, including some which are just for refugees. Some run programmes which help you with writing your CV, interview practice, work placements and training opportunities which can lead to guaranteed interviews with employers. You don’t have to be an English speaker for them to help you. Below, we list some organisations that can help.
If you are unemployed and on Universal Credit, always check with your Work Coach that they are happy for you to attend any courses or programmes that help you find work, before you sign up.
Employment support from local councils
We really highly recommend visiting your local council website, and looking under the ‘Employment’ section to find details of support programmes they run, and organisations that they work with, which can support local residents to find work.
Sometimes, these organisations can be referred to as ’employability organisations’. Typically, you can fill in a form to refer yourself for help (or get someone to refer you), and they will talk to you to find out things like:
- What your skills and prior experience are
- What your level of English is (the fact that it’s limited is okay)
- What your constraints are in terms of working hours (such as school dropoff and pickup times)
- What you would like to do ideally
- Any other things that make it more challenging to find a job, such as a disability
Onece they have this information, they can begin to advise you on suitable options. They will also know of local employers who are looking to hire people.
See for example, one local council’s programme called Access2Employment: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/access2employment. This gives you an idea of what these programmes can offer and how they work. They say: “The Access2Employment Team of professional employment advisers offer tailored support to help its clients secure new or better employment, training or educational opportunities.” This is typical of the service provided to people who seek help from such organisations.
Job Centres are frequently approached by organisations that are actively looking for employees, so they may know of options that you could try. You can also request to speak to a specialist adviser in your preferred sector, not just your Work Coach.
National Careers Service
Available to people in England, you can call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 and ask to make an appointment with a Russian or Ukrainian speaking adviser. At this appointment, you will get up to 1 hour of advice on possible career options.
See https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/ for more information. There will be equivalent organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
RefuAid is a charity that can help you with English language qualifications, internships and requalifications so that you can begin to establish yourself in the UK according to your previous profession in Ukraine. You can sign up at this link: https://refuaid.secure.force.com/languageapplication/ – they will be receiving many queries so it will be some time before they can call you back.
Refugee Council is running a programme called ‘New Roots’ which supports refugees in finding work. They have advisors who offer help and support to refugees, and a ‘Prepare for Work’ course to help refugees become ‘job ready’ for work in the UK, through support in areas such as writing a strong CV and cover letter, and interview skills. They have a secondary course called ‘Working in the UK’ for employment support with more competitive roles such as bank manager or project manager.
The prerequisites to be eligible for the ‘New Roots’ programme are:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have one of the following immigration statuses: Refugee or Humanitarian Protection OR ILR, DLR, or Family Reunion OR ARAP/ACRS/ALES OR Homes for Ukraine or Ukrainian Family Schemes
- Have permission to work in the UK (which will be the case if you are a Ukrainian refugee)
- Speak, read, and write English at an intermediate level or above (Entry Level 3 or B1)
- Live in England
- Be willing and ready to attend employability sessions and seek work
The email contact is: email@example.com (see https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/about-us/contact/#employment).
STEP Ukraine – English and employment support
15/08/23: A new programme has just been announced by the Government called STEP Ukraine. It offers intensive online English classes, as well as employment support with help to prepare a CV, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
Catch22 is a charity that provides employability support amongst other things. They run a programme called ‘Inspiring Connections’, which is a personal and professional development programme enabling individuals to gain the momentum they need to take the next steps towards their career goals, with the support of experienced industry connections known as ‘Advocates’.
Candidates and Advocates participate in a six week programme exploring themes including: goal setting, personal brand and mapping success. The focus of the support is on the Candidate achieving their career goals – offering encouragement, coaching, problem solving, support with decision making, accountability, and celebrating progress. Candidates benefit from exploring their career development, having direct input from Advocates on their career journeys and building their confidence and aspirations along the way. This initiative gives Candidates access to experienced professionals whom they may not encounter in other areas of their lives.
There is a sign up form on the website to register interest: https://www.catch-22.org.uk/services/inspiring-connections/
Eligibility / expectations:
- Candidates must be over the age of 18
- Candidates must have the right to work in the UK
- No prior education level requirement
- Sufficient English to be able to follow training delivered on Zoom (slides are sent out ahead of time); to be comfortable communicating on a 1 to 1 basis as well as within a group on Zoom; to be able to deliver a 4 minute presentation to the group (done for the purposes of developing interview technique and developing communication skills, you will receive constructive feedback on what you have done well, and where you could improve)
- Expectations: to attend all 6 sessions. You will also need access to the Internet to join the Zoom calls
There are a number of other programmes that Catch22 run to help people with employment, partnering with the likes of Barclays, Microsoft, Salesforce and the National Grid. If the ‘Inspiring Connections’ programme is not suitable, they may be able to point you in the direction of other programmes.
Breaking Barriers are an organisation that support refugees in finding work in London, Manchester and Birmingham. You can find out more and ask for support here: https://breaking-barriers.co.uk/refugee-support/.
For those living in Wales, you can access support with writing a CV, finding suitable training opportunities and advice on your career options by contacting the organisation Working Wales: Working Wales | Working Wales (gov.wales)
Strive Training provide a number of courses on topics such as English, starting your own business and employability. See https://strivetraining.co.uk/ for details of their courses.
They provide for example, a course on employability within the Civil Service (another name for Government departments) covering CV writing, interview practice and job search. Whilst not all Civil Service roles are eligible for Ukrainians to apply, this course could help with finding jobs in local councils also, and general job search tips.
Some courses are online, others are based in classrooms in Croydon where there are Ukrainian speaking administrators and tutors. They also have a Ukrainian speaking administrator available to support on 0208 686 1099 and on this email address: Ukraine@strivetraining.co.uk.
Upwork are a recruitment organisation that have partnered with Tent Partnership for Refugees (https://www.tent.org/) to create Opportunity Unlimited, an initiative to help displaced professionals find work and get connected to the resources they need to prepare for, conduct, and get paid for their work, no matter their location. Find out more at https://www.upwork.com/opportunity-unlimited