Businesses Missing Out on Refugees' Skills

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Greater recognition of refugees' skills, experience and qualifications is needed if they are to play a more significant role in the UK labour market, the Welfare to Work Conference will be told today.

Refugees should also have the opportunity to learn occupationally-specific ESOL, the conference will be told, and employers need access to improved information that will demonstrate the benefits of employing refugee workers.

These are interim findings from Progress GB, a development partnership that aims to address the barriers to employment for refugees and migrants.

Jane Watts, Progress GB Project Manager, said: “Refugees often need extra support in finding work which is appropriate to their previous experience and qualifications. Some refugees need considerably more time in the IAG (information, advice and guidance) process, which should include full skills audits and advice on recognition of previous skills, experience and qualifications.”

She added: “Many of the current recognition systems mean little to employers; Progress GB has developed models for recognition through work experience which are proving successful in helping refugees progress into the labour market. It would be excellent if guidance, learning and employment providers would take the opportunity of this Refugee Week to review their systems to ensure that they are able to take advantage of the considerable skills and strengths which refugees have to offer the UK and its labour market.”

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