Having left behind the homes, jobs and education they worked so hard for, hundreds of refugees in Liverpool are now looking to rebuild their lives here in the UK with the help of skills and training experts Seetec Outsource.
Specialist education and skills provision, run by Seetec Outsource, is helping those with limited English-speaking skills to fast track their language and knowledge development to give them the confidence to secure employment.
Around 60 refugees have already taken part and are benefiting not only from the learning but the friendship and support that the programmes offer. From January, 16- 24-year old traineeship learners will also have the opportunity to complete a work placement, moving them closer to entering employment or continuing their education in the city.
Two Afghan refugees who are currently part of the programme are Waheed, 22 and Muzhgan, 21.
Waheed was a civil engineering student in Kabul before his family was forced to flee Afghanistan. He had high hopes for his future in the UK but spoke very little English when he first arrived in the country. With Seetec’s support, he will still be able to pursue his career goals.
He said: “I really want to become a civil engineer in the UK but need to improve my English before I can continue my studies here.
“Although I learned some English in school, I didn’t have the ability or confidence to have a proper conversation. After just 3 weeks on the ESOL* course I’ve improved so much.”
Muzhgan is one of just a handful of female learners attending the city centre traineeship programme. She was a fourth-year medical student in Kabul before her family was evacuated, with dreams of becoming a plastic surgeon.
Having lost both her parents, and more recently a brother who was killed in a bomb attack on his office, Muzhgan finally feels safe in Liverpool and has embraced the city as her new home.
Despite the challenges she has faced, Muzhgan is more determined than ever to turn her ambitions into a reality and the support offered by Seetec will take her a step closer to achieving her goals.
Muzhgan said: “The course has been so much fun, and we’ve taken part in lots of activities. It has helped me to feel more settled in the UK.
“We’re also getting practical support with job and university applications, which is really helpful. It’s important for me to go back to university and continue my studies so that I can follow my dream of becoming a plastic surgeon one day.”
Political leaders in the North of England welcomed Afghan refugees with open arms back in August of this year, with regions in the North of England historically taking in a higher percentage of refugees than the South.
Analysis from The Guardian* in August showed that Northern England – including the North-West, North-East and Yorkshire and Humber – had taken in nearly half (42%) of all the 44,825 asylum seekers in the UK. Only 6.5% have been placed in the south of England excluding London.
The Mayors in the North of England previously stated that the whole country needed to support those in need, as ministers draw up plans to take in 20,000 men, women and children from Afghanistan over the next five years.
Andi Macgregor, Operations Director for Education and Skills said: “At Seetec Outsource our aim has always been – and always will be – to change lives for the better.
“We can support Afghan refugees by giving them the skills and capabilities they need to successfully integrate into life in the UK and become active and valued members of their new communities.
“It’s rewarding to see the impact that our provision is already having on refugees in Liverpool, and we will continue to work with partners in the region to identify any additional support needs and ensure they have access to the right services at this critical time.”