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April 4, 2018

Immigration Minister meets Syrian refugees on World Jewish Relief Prog


Caroline Nokes sitting with Syrian refugee

Immigration Minister meets Syrian refugees on World Jewish Relief Prog

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP today (4 April 2018) met Syrian refugees on the path to finding work with the help of World Jewish Relief in Yorkshire.

World Jewish Relief has been working for the past two years with refugees from Syria to help them find employment across Yorkshire and in Coventry.

Our Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP), partly funded by the Home Office, helps refugees to identify, and overcome, the challenges to finding work.  In particular, it provides English language classes; presentation, CV and interview skills; and more specific training courses such as health and safety, working in construction, HGV licence preparation, and food hygiene classes.

Since it began, the programme has worked with 250 refugees and 66 have found work in a range of sectors including retail, hair and beauty and the construction industry.

Rana arrived in the UK in 2015 and works as a pharmacy assistant in Bradford, speaking about the programme she said: 

“Arriving in Bradford as a refugee was a huge relief but adjusting to a new way of life was a big struggle culturally, emotionally and economically. I was very anxious to continue my career as a pharmacist and thanks to World Jewish Relief’s STEP Programme, I have been able to gain confidence, improve my language skills, achieve qualifications and gain employment within a pharmacy. I may not be a pharmacist yet but with the help of World Jewish Relief and STEP, I will get there. STEP has helped me to achieve a number of qualifications including funding Level 3 Pharmacy Technician which has made me feel very positive about my future.”

Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, said:

“I am delighted that I was able to visit STEP and witness first-hand the fantastic work World Jewish Relief and their partners, Horton Housing, Refugee Council and Coventry City Council, are doing to help refugees rebuild their lives in the UK.”

“Helping refugees find work is vitally important for effective resettlement and in building strong integrated communities.”

“As a country we can be proud that we are over half way towards honouring our commitment of resettling 20,000 of the most vulnerable refugees who have fled Syria.”

In addition to supporting refugees, STEP also works with local employers to encourage them to make jobs available, look at recruitment practices and consider other ways of helping such as work placements, shadowing and mentoring.

Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive, said:

“Many refugees face a struggle to find employment when they get to the UK. It is only by providing intensive, personal support that many are able to join the workforce. The Syrian refugees being supported by World Jewish Relief have a positive work ethic similar to the Jewish community and we know only too well how our parents and grandparents who moved to this country had to learn English and work hard to provide for their families. This new refugee community is already making a similarly positive contribution to British society.”

“The Home Office’s partnership with World Jewish Relief has been hugely beneficial in assisting refugees to become ready for employment, overcoming huge personal challenges to do so. It highlights the importance of employment as key to successful integration”.

There are five STEP branches, two in Bradford and one in Sheffield, Leeds and Coventry.

The Home Office, as part of its broader support package for refugees, has provided £330,000 over two years to help set up the programme. The World Jewish Relief works with local partners, Horton Housing and Refugee Council, to deliver individualised support through the programme.

To see how the STEP Programme helps Syrian Refugees, watch Baraa’s story: