Hammerson Fund – CLEAR Project Award.
CLEAR aims to improve the quality of life for refugees and asylum seekers in Southampton, offering free advice, information and guidance on immigration and asylum issues giving them the opportunity they need to start a new life.
A grant of £2,400 from the Hammerson Fund has ensured that CLEAR can continue to provide its employment club, offering intensive support for refugees and asylum seekers searching for work in the UK. The service is designed to help those unfamiliar with employment procedures in the UK and is closely linked to the CLEAR adult learning courses covering ICT and “Working in the UK”. With Southampton set to receive 25 refugee families during 2016, this service can now be offered to this new group of refugees as they arrive.
Miss A came to CLEAR Employment Services following receiving refugee status in October 2015, meaning that for the first time since she arrived she had the right to work in the UK and could begin looking for work.
She wanted to work as a therapist or a mental health nurse, but decided that she would like to start with care work. Her English is good so fortunately this was not an issue as it can be for many other refugees. Following initial assessment, CLEAR began supporting Miss A to compile a CV, and also advised that although she had basic IT skills this was something that she should work to improve, while also improving her confidence.
CLEAR started supporting Miss A to apply for work.She had some experience of caring for family members so her CV was developed with this in mind and she applied for a number of different roles. The role she was most interested in was working with the NHS staff bank as a trainee health care assistant. This is a complex application process and Miss A needed a lot of support to complete the paperwork over several appointments. She had sensibly already been volunteering whilst waiting for her status, so she was able to supply the relevant references required.
To assist Miss A to develop the confidence to put herself forward for an interview, she attended the CLEAR “Working in the UK” course modules enabling her to secure interviews with both BUPA and NHS Professionals.
Following successful interviews Miss A was offered both jobs and decided to take the NHS Professionals opportunity. At this stage CLEAR’s work continued, supporting her to find and supply all the paperwork that the NHS needed for pre-employment checks. Typically, newly granted refugees do not have all the necessary paperwork and so phone calls were made to the HR department to discover what alternative documents were acceptable. Miss A completed and passed her pre-start training in February 2016 and she started work at the end of March 2016. The support Miss A received from CLEAR was vital to her in obtaining the employment she wanted to build a better life.
First posted on Thursday 5 October