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UK businesses join scheme to support refugees find jobs

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RefuAid offers English language tuition to clients

A consortium made up of a number of UK-based employers, brought together by entrepreneur Emma Sinclair, MBE has pledged resettlement support to those who have fled the conflict in Ukraine. The scheme will offer language support as well as jobs to refugees arriving in the UK.

Most skilled professions require intensive English language tuition and UK re-accreditation to practice, which usually involves undertaking exams and/or further training. This process is prohibitively expensive for those who have sought sanctuary in the UK and is time consuming. The purpose of the scheme’s providing language support will largely speed up this process.

Companies such as FDM plc, PageGroup plc, PWC and Portman Dental Group are each sponsoring 50 RefuAid clients to learn English language and receive resettlement support. Sponsors will not have the right to employ the clients at the end of their courses.

Over 120 large companies (and many smaller ones) have engaged and have expressed interest in joining the consortium. Some of these businesses are: Caffe Nero, Capital One, Domino’s Pizza, Dunelm, Mitie, Mondalez, Nando’s, Northumbrian Water, Sodexho, Speedy Services, Wincanton, WPP and many more. Many are announcing other initiatives in support such as The AA and WH Smiths.

Emma Sinclair, MBE commented: “My father’s side of the family came from Ukraine, fleeing pogroms and persecution. It is not surprising – but very uplifting – to see how quickly business has stepped up to fill an urgent gap in light of the Ukrainian crisis. There is an overwhelming desire to help refugees resettle and have meaningful lives, finding employment commensurate with experience.

“The slow, bureaucratic process to set up a life in the UK needs to be sped up. This launch initiative is the first step towards significantly accelerating the pace that the United Kingdom can do that – and do that better. A second large wave of supporters has already been assembled and we will shortly be ready to expand the programme. I hope through this consortium that we are seeing the beginning of much needed blue print for how to help refugees arriving on our shores to lead dignified independent lives, for all our benefit.”

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC, made comment: “A profession is part of someone’s identity – we want to use our strengths as a training business to support refugees into the right work for them. This is a no-brainer for businesses looking for talented people, and we’re delighted to work with other businesses to get moving on this important pilot which aligns with our existing activities to support refugees.”

Steve Ingham, CEO at PageGroup commented: “With over 40 years’ experience of changing lives, we will continue to use our expertise to create opportunities. Being part of the Business.Consortium allows us to provide talent to UK businesses that are crying out for skilled employees as well as break down entry barriers to employment for the Ukrainian refugees.”

Rod Flavell, CEO, FDM Group also commented: “We are very excited to be joining forces with the other businesses to offer job opportunities to Ukrainian refugees. Last year FDM recruited over 2,500 new joiners into our permanent workforce. We are looking to hire in excess of that number in 2022 so we are open minded as to numbers.”  

Anna Jones, CEO, RefuAid: “Forced migration is one of the leading issues of our generation. Whilst governments must be called upon to provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary more support is needed to enable people to rebuild their lives in the new communities they find themselves. This consortium displays the amazing capacity businesses and the third sector have to create change by working together to support people and RefuAid are thrilled to be a part of it.

If you’d like to join the Business.Consortium please contact Emma Sinclair, MBE.




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