Published on 27 March 2024

Out & About in Bradford

by John Zavos, 27 March 2024

Out & About: Recruiting Refugee Talent

Today I spent time at an event organised by Bradford City of Sanctuary and University of Bradford on Recruiting Refugee Talent: why hiring refugees is good for business.  It was an engaging session.  I was happy to chat with participants from local and national employers, including Emerald Publishing and Morrisons Supermarkets, showing their commitment to employing refugees and other displaced people.  Two recurring MESH themes were frequent reference points during the day.  The importance of developing English, of course, but also the importance of volunteering.

A panel of Experts by Experience was facilitated by MESH friend Roger Nyantou of RETAS Leeds.  One question posed to the panellists was to share their first experience of applying for work in the UK.  One panellist recounted his experience of gaining his refugee status, then applying for around 350 jobs without any success.  Why was this so?  Many employers responded to him by saying that he lacked UK work experience.  He turned to volunteering. Having volunteered for Horton Housing for some months, this person then found that he acquired experience, knowledge of UK employment culture and regulatory frameworks, and also had someone he could turn to for a reference.  Employment soon followed.  The power of volunteering!

Increase your learners’ awareness of volunteering by using the MESH volunteering learning resource – a set of resources you can adapt to use in your classroom.

MESH Volunteering Resource


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