Janice Lopatkin is made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 21st November 2019. (PA images/Yui Mok)
Janice's work establishing and running our refugee employment programme was recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this year. The Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) started in 2016 to assist Syrian refugees arriving in the UK as part of the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. The project focuses on ensuring refugees have the requisite language and relevant qualifications to get into work, with each person being assigned an employment manager who guides them through the process with individual and specialist support. Janice has also developed partnerships with employers to involve them in the training and recruitment process to help refugees into employment.
The programme draws on World Jewish Relief’s recent experience of assisting almost 9,000 Jewish unemployed and under employed throughout the former Soviet Union to find work and assist them out of poverty. World Jewish Relief also played a key role assisting Jewish refugees from Nazi-Europe in the 1930s and 40s with similar support, many of whom have made an enormous contribution to British society and UK industry.
Over the past 3 years, Janice has ensured the STEP programme has gone from strength to strength, receiving funding from private Jewish donors, the Home Office, a substantial 2 year grant from the EU’s AMIF (Asylum and Migration Integration Fund). Janice and her work with STEP are regularly cited by the UK government and UNHCR as an example of best practice in helping refugees into employment and aiding integration.
Under Janice’s expert guidance STEP is now active in 5 locations in Coventry and across West Yorkshire. She has formed strong partnerships to help deliver the programme and together they have enabled over 100 people to get into work.
Janice has worked tirelessly to understand the unique challenges facing refugees and think creatively about the ways in which they can tackle the root causes preventing them from getting into work. She has worked with partners to address specific issues such as the personal, social and cultural barriers facing female refugees and differences in workplace culture.
Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive of World Jewish Relief says: “I am immensely proud of the honour that Janice has received. She has worked tirelessly with World Jewish Relief, living out our Jewish values, to enable refugees to have the chance, opportunity and assistance to find work, earn a living and contribute towards British society”.
Janice Lopatkin, UK Programme Director, World Jewish Relief says: “I am delighted to receive this wonderful honour. As with most successful projects this is a collaborative process and at STEP we work with national and local Government, NGOs and employers to ensure that we can help as many people as possible rebuild their lives here in the UK. It is a tremendous privilege working with the refugees who are involved in STEP and observing the immense strength and resilience they have in starting new lives in this country after such a traumatic journey”.
Janice outside Buckingham Palace with her MBE award after the ceremony.