Like most organisations, we were incredibly distressed to see what was happening in Ukraine earlier this year. Given the City & Guilds Foundation’s focus on supporting people who face barriers to develop skills, we knew we had to do something to support not only Ukrainian refugees, but the wider refugee population too.
Over the past six months, my teams have been working behind the scenes to understand the real situation faced by refugees, and to identify organisations who we could partner with and fund to make a difference. We are very pleased to announce our funding to four fantastic charities who have identified the critical needs of their clients. From young displaced people, to women arriving with families, to qualified professionals struggling to find work commensurate with their experience. Uniting them all, is a high level of motivation to improve their circumstances and contribute to society.
- Positive Youth Foundation supports newly arrived young people to the UK, aged 16-25, in Coventry. Funding from the City & Guilds Foundation is enabling them to create a Career Boost programme which will help between 50 and 60 young people over the next year with mentoring, access to on-line learning and volunteering. This combination of skills development aims to boost the confident of these newly arrived young people, and will support them with gaining further employment, education or training.
- Routes Collective exists to support women with refugee backgrounds in London and their families. The City & Guilds Foundation has awarded them with dedicated funding to complete courses in sectors like health and social care. Funding is also supporting Routes’ mentoring programme which provides beneficiaries with access to industry experts as they move into employment.
- The Launchpad Collective is steered by refugees, for refugees. Businesses are supported to become refugee-friendly, whilst job seekers are empowered to unlock their potential through their training and learning packages. They have been awarded funding for the development of their inclusive recruitment toolkit, focused on building confidence, inspiring and educating employers to hire people with refugee backgrounds.
- Breaking Barriers supports over 1000 people a year from a refugee background into meaningful employment through advice, work experience, and education. Funding from the City & Guilds Foundation will enable Breaking Barriers to deliver bespoke training pathways to improve access to training, job readiness and employment for refugees in sectors such as Health and Social Care and Construction. This funding will also support our wider work to support over 1000 refugee clients with bespoke employment and integration support, access to our Education programme, and access to skills training and job opportunities with our corporate partners.
All funded charity partners have also been able to refer their clients to the ENIC skills translation service to recognise the skills and experience gained in their home country and enable them to communicate it clearly to prospective employers.
We know that helping people to gain skills, and having their existing capabilities recognised is crucial if they are going to progress into work, whilst navigating the many complexities of adapting and settling into a new country and local community. We’re delighted to be working with the organisations above. Working with employers and refugees to provide skills, not only enriches our own country – but is a fundamental part of how we might meet our own challenges for those skills in demand across the UK.
As with all City & Guilds Foundation funded programmes, we will be closely tracking the impact of the funding through City & Guilds’ impact measurement framework.