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Delivering employability training for refugees

We worked with the UK Refugee Council to launch a virtual Employability Skills programme for refugees.

Setting the scene

Our vision for our Social Mobility Community Programme is to use our skills and resources to enable people from disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK to make the most of their potential, whether at PwC or elsewhere.  

Many of our staff are passionate about supporting refugees and asylum seekers to rebuild their lives here in the UK, a fundamental aspect of which is developing the skills they need to find work.

We therefore decided to launch a virtual Employability Skills programme, in collaboration with the Refugee Council. Dozens of PwC volunteers have been involved in the design and delivery of the programme and many more have developed awareness of the issues and barriers faced by refugees into employment.

How we helped

In June 2020, experts from our firm ran virtual sessions with refugees in the UK on everything from recruitment pathways to mock interviews. Eighteen of the Refugee Council's clients signed up to attend and 15 volunteers from around our firm ran sessions.

The attendees came from 12 different countries of origin, with the most coming from Syria. Some have been in the UK less than 12 months, one as long as 15 years. They come from a broad range of backgrounds, including health, IT, finance, law, engineering and administration.

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“We’re thrilled to be working with PwC over the next 12 months to deliver vital employability services to our clients.

Refugees have so much to contribute to the UK, but they need support to get them started. We all know that COVID-19 has increased isolation for some of those most vulnerable in society, including refugees, and has exacerbated pressure on charities. We cannot do this alone, and are so grateful to PwC for continuing to push for social mobility and collaborating with us to achieve meaningful change.”

Holly Asquith, Employer Engagement Manager, Refugee Council

Making a difference

We recently formalised a partnership with the Refugee Council for the coming year. Expanding our current programme outside London to other regions, including the city of Leeds, will help us support the development of employability skills of close to one hundred refugees.

The course covers skills such as CV writing, employer expectations and how to best represent themselves in their applications and interviews. Many attendees have never been to an interview before, so the opportunity to practise in a low risk environment through volunteer-run mock interviews is invaluable. 

A programme attendee commented: “When I changed the way I wrote my CVs and letters in accordance with the training sessions, I actually saw a clear improvement and started hearing back from employers, which, for me, is great progress. Overall, it was a great experience; informative, fun, and positive.” 

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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