What can your business do?

What can your business do?

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How can your business support a refugee’s employment journey? 

There are many invaluable ways of supporting refugees into jobs, apart from offering employment. Although bigger companies tend to have higher budgets that can support tailored employment programmes, every business small or medium can play a big part in supporting refugees employment journey.  You might want to consider one of the following options 

  • Professional mentoring 
  • Apprenticeships
  • Work placements and training programmes
  • Open days / site visits
  • SWAP

Work Placements and Training Programmes

Case Study

As part of their Skills for Employment initiative, IKEA UK/IE partnered with Refugee Council to offer refugees an opportunity to learn the vital new skills needed to enter the UK labour market, and ultimately find long-term employment. In May 2021, they launched a programme called UPPNÅ (meaning ‘to achieve’ in Swedish) which consisted of: 

  • A 4-day online training covering: introduction to IKEA and employer’s expectations, CV and cover letter writing, information on the UK labour market and key terminology, interview preparation  
  • A visit to one of the IKEA’s stores and a short interview 

The successful candidates were then put forward for a paid 8-week work placement with IKEA, which was paid at the Living Wage. The programme aspired to help refugees: 

  • Gain UK work experience and solid reference 
  • Develop English skills 
  • Improve confidence and communications skills 

For most participants, a full-time job was offered at the end of the programme (in the first 7 months of the programme, 43 refugees have participated and of those who already completed, 95% stayed with IKEA in permanent roles). 

To support the programme’s efforts and enable mutual learning and understanding, a co-worker buddy system was designed, which meant each participant would receive support from a friendly colleague during their 8 weeks placement. 

“Ultimately, the shared experiences have helped to change what can be a restrictive narrative. Being a refugee is only one part of who someone is, through these connections we learn to see a person, not just that one aspect of them.” Ibtissam Ward, UK/IE Project Leader Refugee Skills for Employability 

To read more about IKEA’s Skills for Employment programme, visit https://www.ingka.com/projects/skills-for-employment/  

You can access the full IKEA case study from the link in the resources section.

Last updated: 3rd April 2023