Six ways social entrepreneurs can help refugees
From a webinar by Pioneer Post
Half of refugees in the UK struggle to get employed. Refugees struggle due to a disruptive asylum process, learning the language, finding housing, and building personal and professional networks.
What can those of us working in the social impact space do to help them find meaningful work? How can you use your professional experience and networks to make a difference to refugees? Here are six ways to take action:
1. Share your skills and knowledge
Whether you have set up a business yourself or you’re a tech whizz, you will have specific insight and skills – like adapting products and services to a UK market – that could be invaluable to a refugee business founder or someone looking for employment. Sign up to a refugee mentoring scheme where you can provide one-to-one advice and support.
2. Help newcomers to grow their network
Social and professional networks are an important source of cultural capital and can be of significant benefit to those born in the UK. On the other hand, when you don't have the advantage of years of building up that network here, it can be really hard to even find your first customers. Help refugees to develop professional networks and connect them with people who have set up similar businesses.
Personal networks can be just as important than professional ones, if not more. Volunteering as a mentor can help newcomers settle into a new place, meet people and find their way around unfamiliar systems and processes.
3. Get your workplace on board
Don’t forget about your role as an employee or business owner – there are relatively simple ways that your organisation can play a part. You could platform refugee voices in the workplace by suggesting to host a talk during Refugee Week (or throughout the year), ask your organisation to choose a catering company that employs migrants and refugees for office parties.
4. Speak up
Lots of organisations are working hard to improve equality and rights for refugees in the UK. You could sign and share their petitions online or attend an in-person event to show your active support.
5. Think about where you shop
As social entrepreneurs know, consumers have the power to make ethical and thoughtful choices with what they buy. Whether you're looking for a special birthday present or to stock up on your daily coffee, consider spending your money with companies that employ refugees, work with them in their supply chains, or donate profits to refugee-led organisations.
6. Look to hire refugees
One way to counteract the hostile environment that many refugees experience when coming to the UK is to offer them a job. How do you get started? Speakers emphasised that employers should learn from refugees themselves. If you create a job for someone from a refugee background, speak to them to find out what might be a barrier to them accepting the role. For example, you may need to create flexible or part-time roles that can fit around childcare responsibilities.
Listen to the 1 hour webinar here.
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