New 'direct approach' employment scheme to help skilled refugees fill vacant roles launched in Peterborough
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The Refugee Work Creation Scheme (RWCS) aims to help non-UK citizens with valuable vocational skills find job vacancies in need of filling.
‘Form filling is tough’
Donald MacLarty, resettlement manager at the Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association (PARCA), is the driving force behind the initiative.
He told the Peterborough Telegraph why the scheme is needed.
“Refugees struggle to find work placements because applications are quite difficult if English isn’t your ‘home’ language.
“They have the skills, they have the experience - they just find navigating through application forms tough.”He believes these issues can be circumvented by PARCA’s “direct approach.”
Essentially, this sees him and his team help skilled job seekers complete their application forms, then puts them in touch with organisations who have already told PARCA they are looking to develop a diverse workforce.
“We cut down that barrier and the company can then allow us a process where we can have those applications direct for those people,” Donald explained.Waitrose were the first Peterborough business to work with PARCA on the scheme, hiring candidates for an initial 10-day period over the Christmas holidays. Harry Wood, team manager at the Mayor’s Walk store, described the experience as “a fantastic festive partnership.”
“We took on four new starters. They were all very punctual and conscientious. It was a pleasure having them.
“If there are opportunities in the future I would definitely look favourably over their applications.”
‘I want to work’
This is music to the ears of one of the four trial workers, Faisal Mokhammad Aiup.
“I enjoyed the job,” he said, speaking of his security guard role. “If possible, I want to work on a contract for a long time.”Born in Afghanistan and raised in Ukraine, the 46-year-old – who came to the UK after Russia launched its 2022 offensive – is desperate to find consistent work. An experienced and qualified security operative who used to have his own business in Ukraine, Faisal started studying at college immediately after arriving in the UK, earning himself a SIA security qualification.
”I want to work,” he said: “I don’t want to stay at home and [have] the government give me money.”
Moneera Taher also worked with Waitrose as part of the trial scheme.
The 19-year-old, who fled Sudan last year, enjoyed working as a supermarket assistant over Christmas, describing her colleagues as “very nice people.”
“I really liked working with them,” she added.
She hopes the experience will help her find additional work that will enable her to achieve her long-term goals. “I would like to finish my studying,” she explained, “and [then] work with my degree to be a successful person in life.”
The success of the trail has led other local businesses to take an interest, with Marks & Spencer and John Lewis both signing up to the scheme.
Donald believes the potential benefits are there for all to see.
“It helps the local economy and it gets people working and paying tax,” he said, concluding “it does everything that the country wants us to do in terms of getting people into work.”