Renfrewshire’s Partnership Approach to Supporting Ukrainian Job Seekers
Earlier this year, employability services in Renfrewshire reported a growing number of new Ukrainian residents (coming via the resettlement scheme) requesting support to find employment.
To ensure a coordinated approach, a working group was set up. Given that many Ukrainians being resettled had no or insufficient English language skills to enable them to access support or work, the group included West College Scotland; Community Learning and Development as well as other key partners such as the Councils Resettlement Team and Engage (the local Third Sector Intermediary) to allow partners to work together to consider both language and employability support collectively.
Since then, a new Job Club for Ukrainian residents has been established which has had 71 people through its doors to date. At least 9 have moved into work so far; 10 are attending college and others are continuing to receive support. A number have moved outwith the Renfrewshire area.
Ukrainian residents who have lived in Renfrewshire for some time, were identified and volunteered at the Job Club providing much needed translation support.
A young Ukrainian woman, who was recently resettled, has been employed via a paid work placement with the Council’s employability service (Invest) where she is further developing her translation skills as well as learning new skills. Yuliia has been a great asset to the team and the working group and other employment opportunities are being considered and developed with CLD and other partners. Yuliia’s story is included below alongside some quotes from others who have been supported.
Renfrewshire LEP funding has enabled West College Scotland to pilot a new ESOL for Employment Course for 14 Ukrainian residents which will be repeated.
This is on top of the existing ESOL courses run by the college and by CLD staff.
A key challenge for the group is that the demand for English language support exceeds what is currently in place and a lack of skilled tutors/teaching staff is a significant barrier. This will be a priority for the group to progress albeit it is a national issue and not unique to Renfrewshire.
The group recognises that the model of support on offer should be available for all refugees in Renfrewshire and the Refugee Council will be joining the group as will the lead for Renfrewshire’s INRen Network to inform planning.
My Story by Yuliia Kovalenko
“After I moved to Scotland from Ukraine, I started to attend the Job Centre. When I was finally settled, I started to look for work. I wanted to find something I am good at and, as I am an interpreter and translator by profession, I decided to choose this direction.
One day when I was at the Job Centre, my Work Coach advised me to come to the Invest in Renfrewshire Job Club for Ukrainians as a volunteer interpreter. After a few sessions, I was offered a 26-week Paid Traineeship as a Trainee Job Club Assistant. Now, I am not only improving my own skills but helping other Ukrainian refugees – this gives me great job satisfaction.
I support with Interpretation at weekly Employability Sessions, translate handouts into Ukrainian and deal with any enquires from Ukrainians coming into the building or attending events such as the Jobs Fair. As well as interpreting and translating, I am keeping files and session materials up to date along with excel spreadsheets and the company database.
This has been a very positive experience for me and is providing me with an opportunity for personal growth. We have received great feedback about the Employability Sessions to date and I have included comments from some of the participants below:”
“Individual approach and attention to everyone”
“I will definitely find a job after these sessions”
“Orientation towards achieving a practical goal – to get a job”
“The presenters are very friendly. They have sincere desire to help”
“The sessions are highly informative”
“It’s great that there are Ukrainian translators”
“As for a student who has never worked, these sessions were really useful and interesting”
“Very nice, relaxing atmosphere, friendly approach, polite”
“High professionalism and opportunity to help with any question related to employment. I also would like to note excellent translation”