Yorkshire programme has changed newcomers' lives in 2018

Yorkshire programme has changed newcomers' lives in 2018

News item 18 December 2018:

Press release 

On International Migrants Day, a Yorkshire programme helping new migrants join the workforce is celebrating an impressive success rate. So far, 90% of people who have completed Connecting Opportunities have gained a job, or progressed into further education or training.

Connecting Opportunities works with new migrants from over 25 countries across West Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire. They can receive free employment training, English classes and one-to-one support, alongside wellbeing and mental health support, and befriending or mentoring to tackle isolation. The programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.

One successful participant is Mohamed, a graduate in Electrical Engineering, who sought asylum in the UK earlier this year. Now living in Bradford, he is currently volunteering with Connecting Opportunities, after benefitting from the service. “I wanted to fill my time and to find a chance to work,” he said. “I received a lot of help from this project. I had English classes with professional teachers, my key worker helped me with applications and I had funding to translate my degree certificate to meet the UK standard.”

Mohamed now has a place on a Masters course in Power Engineering at Northumbria University. “All my hopes are for university. My dreams don’t stop. I want to become a specialist in renewable energies and contribute to the UK economy.”

Other participants have launched completely new careers. Full-time mum Mrs Salem, 37, joined in Leeds earlier this year, “to start thinking of my future and find ways to achieve it.” Now she is training to become a driving instructor. Mrs Salem moved to the UK from Egypt when her husband started a PhD and later found work. “I was lonely, as it was only me and my husband, no family, no friends,” she said. She feels that Connecting Opportunities has “helped me to build my confidence and be active in my community.”

Dave Brown, Head of Migration Yorkshire, said: “Connecting Opportunities is having a huge impact on the lives of our participants. It is changing lives and supporting people on inspirational journeys towards their goals. They, and all our partner organisations, should be proud of what they have achieved so far.”

Connecting Opportunities welcomes enquiries from people aged over 15 with the right to work, who have been in the UK for under 10 years. To find out more, visit: Connecting Opportunities 


For more information, contact:

Phone  0113 378 8700
Email  co@migrationyorkshire.org.uk


Notes to editors

1 About Connecting Opportunities

Connecting Opportunities works with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community. Ten organisations that specialise in working with migrants are offering tailored support, cultural orientation, English language classes and other training across Leeds City Region. Horton Housing is a partner organisation on the project. Migration Yorkshire manages Connecting Opportunities.

2 About the funding

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.

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Connecting Opportunities has received up to £2.8 million of funding of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

3 About International Migrants Day [18 December]

International Migrants Day has been observed by the international community on 18 December since 2000. It was instituted by the United National General Assembly to make migrants’ voices heard more prominently and to highlight their human rights.



Connecting Opportunities, National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund logos 


Page last updated:31/05/2020 10:06:32

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