The careers service is working with Reading Refugee Support Group to develop their online employability skills training for local sanctuary seekers
Despite a highly challenging time over the last year, the recent events in Afghanistan remind us of how fortunate a position many of us are in here in Reading. This feeling was the backdrop to the work our Careers Consultancy team have undertaken over recent months in 2021 in order to support the Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG).When refugees arrive in the UK, they are typically in a situation where they may not have a strong educational background and they may have big gaps in their employment experience. Even if they are well educated, they may well hold qualifications that do not qualify them to work in the UK in their chosen profession. Many may struggle with the English language or with technology and others may have childcare and financial problems as well as mental health challenges from their prior experiences that they will need to overcome. There are also cultural differences between their home countries and the UK to consider.
So, RRSG, as part of the University of Reading’s Sanctuary work, asked Careers to support them in developing a section of their training platform that will support Reading Refugees in their search for work. So we rolled up our sleeves and set to it over the summer term and have now created a bespoke set of resources to help with; career choice, understanding career options, job hunting, CV and cover letter writing and interviews as well as a glossary explaining the extensive jargon faced when looking for work. Each resource was packed with tailored advice, taking into account the challenges refugees often face and provided a detailed set of guidance, resources and links to support them in moving forward.
Nick Harborne, the CEO of RRSG shared how he felt about their work of the team:
“Employment is a vital aspect of someone’s journey, allowing them to benefit from all we have to offer by contributing to Reading and the wider community. Our collaboration with University of Reading in developing our website so refugees can become job-ready and provide opportunities for volunteering and work experience to assist people on this journey is invaluable. As a small charity supporting refugees, we think this is a tremendous contribution to the services and support we offer.”
We feel delighted to have contributed to bringing the University one step closer to the ‘University of Sanctuary’ status. We are also delighted that looking forward RRSG will be seeing how the resources we have created can be shared throughout the refugee support network, so the impact of our work will have the chance to grow even further beyond the Reading area. We feel honoured to have played just a small part in welcoming refugees to Reading and in enabling them to thrive through helping them to find work and hopefully a sense of peace and well–being in their new lives.
For more information, please contact: Laia Auge Poch email@example.com.
Text by Tania Lyden, Careers Consultant.