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Celebrating Refugee Week

Richard Oskwarek
Refugee Employment Service Anniversary Celebration Event

This week, our employment services held an event as part of National Refugee Week to celebrate the achievements of all the refugees we have supported into employment and training over the last six years. It also allowed us to celebrate the value and contribution that all the wonderful people who come to this country as refugees bring to their local communities and the country as a whole.

Framework delivers a whole host of employment and skills support across Nottinghamshire. All with the same aim—to offer everyone an opportunity to explore employment and education irrespective of an individual’s background, barriers, or support needs. We believe that everyone should have access to opportunities to help better themselves and a chance to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

For the last six years, we are extremely proud to say that our work has included assisting Afghan and Syrian families in resettling in Newark and Sherwood.

Gaining employment is vital and plays a key part in the resettlement journey. Being in work offers financial security, provides stability and structure, and helps build local relationships and social and supportive networks – all of which are essential when settling into a new community.

In 2018, Framework’s Opportunity and Change programme received a referral from Newark and Sherwood Job Centre – the participant was a refugee. This led to a positive relationship being developed between Framework, Job Centre Plus, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, and the Syrian refugee charity. The partnership looked at how we could work together to help individuals and families move into paid employment and training and ultimately resettle as citizens.

As part of this work at Framework, we are proud to have supported 70 individuals and their families, of whom 15 have moved into paid employment and 18 into training. This is an amazing achievement and a testament to the motivation and resilience of the individuals and families we have met and supported, and the quality of support provided by our specialist Refugee Employment Advisor, Janet Holland.

Janet has built fantastic relationships within the community and is proud to see the families progressing through Citizenship, study, and employment.

How our work helps

Mohammad arrived in the UK with his family in 2016 from Lebanon under the UK Refugee Resettlement programme. He had moved to Lebanon because of the war in Syria, leaving behind extended family, his home, and a successful stonemasonry construction business that employed up to 15 men.

Although Mohammad always had the biggest smile on his face, he was becoming depressed because he couldn’t find work. The biggest issue preventing this was his inability to pass his CSCS card test. The course was not offered in Arabic, so Janet identified that a translator was needed. That was the first step to gaining the CSCS card and securing employment with a local construction company keen to employ a Syrian Refugee.

Mohammad and his advisor initially met with the owner, and it was agreed that Mohammad would be offered a work trial. This was successful, and Mohammad became a full-time employee.

During his time with the company, he has learned many new building terms and techniques, improved his English language skills, and really enjoyed his job.

Janet has also supported Mohammad’s wife in pursuing a Level 2 qualification in Supporting Learning and Teaching in Schools.