About Connecting Opportunities
Connecting Opportunities (CO) is a project working with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community.
Some local organisations that specialise in working with migrants are working together to offer tailored support, cultural orientation, English language classes and other training across West Yorkshire and part of North Yorkshire (Craven, Harrogate, Selby and York). We're also creating opportunities for local people to be volunteer mentors and befrienders, and for local employers to provide work placements to help people get a foothold in the job market.
We opened our doors in July 2017, and we're very happy that so far, 90% of people who have completed CO have gained a job, or progressed into further education or training.
Why did we set up CO?
We want to support the most vulnerable and marginalised new migrants in Leeds City Region to integrate and to increase their employability and become economically active members of the wider community. We recognise that some of the skills, strengths and potential of new migrants could remain untapped if we do not take action to address some of the many barriers they can face.
We hope to engage with approximately 1000 migrants over the 2 years of the project.
Connecting Opportunities is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.
Some of the things that are special about our service
- We tailor our support to each individual.
- You get the same service, wherever you live in Leeds City Region.
- We offer English language classes for up to 12 months if required.
- There is specialist mental health and wellbeing support available.
- We aim to be inclusive of the perspectives and contributions of women.
- Participants help to influence the project.
How will everyone benefit?
We hope that:
- Participants will feel more confident, speak better English and have a greater understanding of the British workplace.
- Through employing new migrants and offering placement opportunities, local employers will know more about the communities living locally, will feel supported to connect with new potential employees and will promote economic well-being in some of the most economically-deprived areas of the region.
- There will be increased integration and understanding between local communities and new migrants.
You can read about the experiences of some of our participants and volunteers here: good news stories