County Voice

Working Denbighshire

Refugee secures job with local food business

‘Mr H’ arrived in the UK in August 2021 after having to leave his country of origin due to civil unrest. He and his family settled in Denbighshire in December 2021. Mr H had experience in the retail sector and had previously run his own business as a clothing retailer.

Mr H was referred to Working Denbighshire by his support worker in December 2021. Mr H said he was keen to work but there were several challenges he was facing, these included:

  • He had had the right to work, but had not received official proof of this from the home office in order to satisfy a new employer.  
  • He was not aware of the process for finding work including CV’s job applications and interview techniques.
  • He still had limited English which wouldn’t have been at the standard expected within a customer service role.
  • He had limited understanding of the requirements of a UK workplace including cultural norms.
  • He was the only English speaker in his family and was therefore spending a lot of time supporting them to attend appointments and therefore didn’t feel he could work full time hours at this point.

Mr H began attending ESOL classes two days per week to increase his knowledge, and was supported through a process of understanding the fundamentals of job searching including creating a CV, exploring recruitment websites and helping with job searches.

Mr H was successful in getting interviews in local shops, however he was unsuccessful at interview in part due to his English skills and level of understanding in relation to social norms.  

In May 2022, his working Denbighshire Employment Mentor heard about a local food business who was really struggling to get enough staff and explained to Mr H that even though preparing food was not his initial goal, it would allow him to practice his English, gain experience in the workplace and had opportunities to move into customer service roles in the future.

Mr H worked with his Employment Mentor, attending 1:1 mock interview sessions. They worked on how to identify words and phrases that an employer would be keen to hear from any interviewee as well as identifying key skills that he could emphasis at interview. Mr H put a lot of effort into this and after making the application to the local food business, was successful at interview the following week.

Since then:

  • Mr H has secured a contract for 16 hours per week at a local food business, and began his employment on the 16 June 2022;
  • Mr H said he feels really good about being employed and the people he works for are nice and friendly and he's happy to be working there;
  • The Working Denbighshire Employment Mentor has offered ongoing support to both Mr H and his employer to ensure he settles into the new role;
  • Mr H has increased his family income and is still able to attend college to improve his English language skills.

 You can find out more about Working Denbighshire on our website.

Ukrainian refugee receives support from Working Denbighshire

Professional Ukrainian refugee receives Working Denbighshire support to access a 3 month Work Start Scheme Placement at a local Café. This is with the added value of ‘In Work Support’ provided by the Work Start Team.

A attended a Jobs Fair that Working Denbighshire were hosting at Rhyl Town Hall in May 2022.

She introduced herself to the staff and gave an account of her current situation. As a result of the current conflict in Ukraine A was forced to leave, travelling to Poland with her 15-year-old son.

Under the Ukrainian resettlement programme, A was matched to a local host. She travelled from Poland with her son arriving in Rhyl in April.

A is now attending college 2 days a week engaging in the ESOL summer programme. A explained that she is very keen to gain employment, she has worked from leaving school, her profession in the Ukraine was that of a Psychologist supporting learners in a school setting. A requested a role where she would be regularly communicating with others such as café or retail work to assist with her language skills. After finding out how Working Denbighshire can support her, she self-referred to Working Denbighshire.

A was allocated to an employment mentor to provide support for her to meet her goals. Her enrolment was completed with her mentor and the support of a translator. At her initial appointment A completed the enrolment paperwork and provided evidence of being able to work in the UK. The translator also assisted A and her mentor to complete her CV to include all her past work history and qualifications. It was apparent quite quickly that she wanted to work urgently as she had always worked in the Ukraine and had excellent transferable skills to offer whilst also having an outgoing and very friendly personality.

Her mentor was aware of a 3-month Work Start Scheme placement at a local café which would provide the ideal opportunity for her. The opportunity was discussed with A and she was very keen to apply.

An appointment was made with the Work Start Scheme placement officer to discuss the placement and the application process. At the point of meeting A, the following actions took place:

  • Job description and person specification shared and explained.
  • A ‘Meet the Employer’ session was arranged, which was carried out informally where A could demonstrate her skill set and ask questions.
  • Application form completed with employment mentor and submitted.
  • Interview and placement offer.

The employer requested that A completed a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate prior to commencing her new role. A’s employment mentor was able to make sure this course was funded and assisted her to access it online. A went through the questions using a translation app on her phone and passed the course on her first attempt!

A received funding to purchase suitable clothing and comfortable footwear for her duties. Her employment mentor attended a local clothing store so she could choose and try on her new work clothes.

Whilst on placement, A will receive ongoing support to ensure she has a positive and meaningful work experience/ placement. This will include supporting her to apply for suitable vacancies as they arise in the local area. Having a nominated Mentor for her to raise any concerns and acting as an advocate will help prevent a breakdown in the placement.

We wish her all the best.

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