World Jewish Relief has received a grant of over £1 million to support resettled refugees to find employment and integrate into British society. The grant, from the EU, has been launched as the UK marks the third anniversary since former Prime Minister David Cameron announced that 20,000 resettled Syrian refugees would be allowed in to the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).
You can hear more about the work on the Sunday Programme from BBC Radio 4 (segment starting at 5:20)
The AMIF (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) funding is for £1.13 million over two years to support 400 refugees towards employment in Coventry and across Yorkshire. World Jewish Relief will be working with local partner organisations in those regions to deliver the service.
Syrian refugees in the UK have tended to face significant challenges and barriers that prevent them from gaining employment. Specific issues faced by refugees include a lack of local knowledge and work experience, the psychological implications of the refugee experience and the need for UK qualifications.
World Jewish Relief’s Specialist Training and Employment Programme (‘STEP’) supports refugees towards employment, using an approach which understands each individual’s situation and tailors an intensive support package to suit the needs of each refugee. The package can include English language classes (ESOL), gaining an understanding and appreciation of the UK workplace, making sure that refugees have the relevant local qualifications and supporting them to gain work experience and ultimately employment. Since the programme began, 20% of participants have found work, compared to a study of a similar intake in 2011, which found that only 2% of resettled refugees found employment within a similar timeframe.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:
“Finding employment is a significant step for refugees and helps to build strong and integrated communities, but we recognise that it can be difficult. I have seen first-hand the inspirational work of the STEP programme, how it helps some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees learn to speak English, find employment and settle in their communities.
“This programme is a powerful example of different religious groups supporting each other and I commend World Jewish Relief on their work.”
Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive, said: “Many refugees face a struggle to find employment when they get to the UK as the cultural differences that they have to overcome are huge. This grant will enable us to provide intensive, personal support using our expertise which will enable them to ultimately join the workforce and integrate into British Society
“This Syrian refugee community have undertaken a journey and a struggle which mirrors that of our own community. Many have survived conflict, been through significant trauma and are now beginning to thrive in a new safe environment. They can - and will - make a similarly positive contribution to British society to that of the Jewish community. This work is a powerful signal that British Jewry is outward-looking, committed to supporting people in need from all backgrounds. I am delighted that the Government is supporting us to enable this to happen”
This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.