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July 20, 2023
Refugee Employment

Work Experience for Refugee Week 2023


World Jewish Relief staff all standing together facing the camera

Written by Emily Cookson, UK Refugee Programme Manager

Last month, World Jewish Relief facilitated a one-week remote work placement for six talented people taking part in our Specialist Training Employment Programme (STEP). STEP is a bespoke employment programme for refugees, who are looking to rebuild their careers in the UK.

When refugees arrive in the countries they’re resettling in, such as the UK, they must essentially start from scratch. From learning a new language to securing housing, there is a lot to navigate, including requalifying and retraining to get back into the industries they have worked in before.

Refugees are fellow professionals. They are Doctors, Entrepreneurs, Teachers, Engineers, Electricians, Coders, Interpreters, Drivers, Managers. They have studied and worked hard in their home countries to gain qualifications and thrive in their jobs. For me, my career is a huge part of my life and identity, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people to lose that and have to start again.

Gaining UK work experience is a vital part of the returning to work process for Refugees. Not only does it give people vital insight into our work culture and practices, but it also creates space for them to restore their confidence and explore their career options. The UK job market continues to be more and more competitive, and with that, recent experience adds so much to your CV.

We had the privilege to be joined by Zahra, Sabah, Abdul, Ehab, Rehana and Muhammad. The work experience was simultaneously a valuable experience four our guests, and an excellent opportunity for our team to learn from their incredible range of professional experiences which you will see below.

Get to know our guests:


Zahra is an experienced Personal Coach. She has plans to open her own Coaching organisation with a few creative activities in helping people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Zahra likes to be called “Delaram”. It is a Persian name which means: Calm and Peaceful Heart. She has chosen this name for the purpose of her own brand.


Sabah is a Finance graduate with a master’s degree and a lot of experience in researching and translation. She is trilingual and is looking for flexible work and volunteering or work experience in her field.  


Abdul is a university student and coder, who taught himself coding by watching videos on YouTube. Now he’s about to enter his second year at Teesside University studying Computer Science. He is looking to break into the IT sector in the UK. 


Ehab is an experienced Graphic Designer, specialising in 3D Graphics, Animation, Commercial and Architectural Visualisation. His long-term career goal is to have his own Interactive Marketing Company and he is currently taking part in a self-employment programme to work towards this goal.


Muhammad is an experienced inventory and procurement specialist. He is open to returning to his career in finance or open his own charity that supports people on their journeys of resettlement. 


Rehana is a teacher and educator in Science and Maths. She would like to return to her career in the education sector or become a professional translator.


How did our guests find the experience?

We wanted to find out if the work experience had been useful for our guests. We received this from Sabah:

“My honest opinion about the work experience is that I really enjoyed it, I learnt a lot about charity work, fundraising, refugee employment, the history of World Jewish Relief, and I met new people. I now feel that perhaps I can work as a part-timer in this field!”


The work placement was a wonderful experience for everyone, and I’m sure just the beginning of a long and rewarding career in the UK for those involved. Find out more about our refugee employment programmes, built on 90 years of experience.