Putting refugees in power
One aspect of the work of our parent charity, Migrant Help, is supporting Syrian refugees who have recently been resettled in the UK through the government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, a programme set up to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees previously living in refugee camps.
For many of these families, their arrival to the UK is the punctuation to what is often an arduous and lengthy journey. After years of uncertainty, it marks the beginning of a return to normality and, most importantly, a sense of agency. But finding that agency can be difficult at first, especially when trying to resume work or enter the labour market with training or qualifications that aren’t recognised.
Refugees face extremely high unemployment rates. The UNHCR estimates there are 120,000 refugees in the UK who have the right to work and studies suggest that 18% of these face unemployment, a rate that is three times that of UK nationals.
We wanted to find out more and work to combat this issue, so we spoke to those of our interpreters who are refugees. 74% of them told us that a professional qualification would have enabled them to enter the workplace sooner, and this finding led us to project in order to invest in the future of a group of Syrian refugees.
Keen to offer more opportunities to people with lived experience, we applied for a grant from European Social Funds in order to support them through the training necessary for them to become interpreters and enter the UK workforce, hoping to become a small part in their journey back to normality and agency.
Participants were enrolled on a 12-week Level 3 in community interpreting course with DPSI Online. The course is suitable for candidates who have no experience in interpreting, or have interpreted for friends or relatives in the community, and are interested in becoming qualified interpreters.
“I loved this course, it was so fun and I made lots of friends who I am still in contact with now. I’m so happy to now be working. It feels great to be able to give back to the community. Helping other refugees/ migrants who were in the same situation as me when I came to the UK. Working as an interpreter is such a rewarding job”– InPower Project Interpreter
Having completed the course, the trainees joined the ranks of the Clear Voice interpreters. We invested in them, and now they add tremendous value to our organisation and enable us to better serve our clients.
This became, what is now known as, our InPower project.
We are now committing to use a portion of our profits to continue the project and open it up to refugees of all backgrounds. We seek to promote social inclusion and empower vulnerable people, something which we know benefits the local community and society at large, and this project aligns perfectly with this mission.
We are so excited to welcome more refugees in to the Clear Voice family.