City & Guilds Foundation funds grassroot charities £150k to support refugees across the UK

The City & Guilds Foundation has announced partnerships with four refugee charities who work across the UK, providing funding of £150K and providing wider support.

Collectively, the funding will allow charities Breaking Barriers, Routes Collective, The Launchpad Collective and Positive Youth Foundation to support over 100 individuals from refugee backgrounds to develop skills and get into sustained employment. Crucially, the funding will also support employers to recruit and support refugees, often a highly skilled untapped talent pool, which will also help fill critical skills gaps.

Speaking about the investments, Faiza Khan MBE, Director of Corporate Affairs & Foundation at City & Guilds said: “Skills development is at the heart of what we do, and we firmly believe that skills are for everyone. So, we are proud to be supporting these charities who are doing great things to develop the skills and careers prospects of refugees. I am looking forward to seeing the difference these programmes will make to people directly, the organisations they are working with, and how together supports the human and social threads that make up our civil society.”

Over the past six months, City & Guilds Foundation has been working with the four charities to identify the critical training needs of their refugee client base. From focussing on displaced young people to parents arriving with children, to qualified professionals struggling to find work commensurate with their experience – what each charity has in common is a dedication to improving their circumstances and helping them contribute to society by developing their skills.

This funding commitment comes as recent research from City & Guilds finds that 54% of 18-24-year-olds from a refugee background don’t think they will ever be able to achieve their career ambitions, as many lose hope as they face what they see as a hostile labour market with limited opportunities to get a foot on the ladder and progress.

When asked what would help them to unlock better career opportunities and achieve their ambitions, the top three responses included; more flexible courses to allow them to study around their responsibilities (27%), access to financial support for accommodation or travel costs for work experience and training (24%), and for employers to make the workplace more welcoming (24%).

The funding from City & Guilds Foundation will support the charities in the following ways:

  • Positive Youth Foundation supports newly arrived young refugees 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 their confidence and 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, which focuses 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, including access to our education programme as well as access to skills training and job opportunities with our corporate partners.

All funded charity partners will also be able to refer their clients to the UK’s agency for translating international qualifications ENIC, to recognise the skills and experience individuals have gained in their home country and to enable them to communicate it clearly to prospective employers. They will also be collaborating with the City & Guilds Foundation on events and advocacy activities to further the impact of this work, and in doing so, they will provide greater opportunities for refugees and organisations across the UK.

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