A PROGRAMME created to help Ukrainian refugees in Warwickshire find employment has been extended due to its success.
The Ukrainian Working in Warwickshire Programme, launched in September 2022, was originally intended to run for 12 months, but has been extended initially by a further four months until the end of January 2024.
Since the programme began, 210 Ukrainians have been referred and 130 have attended or completed the course, with 38 gaining employment across several industries including hospitality and catering, and warehousing and logistics.
The programme is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Community Development Agency, working closely with Warwickshire Skills Hub.
It is also linked to the Fair Chance Employer Programme which shapes inclusive employment opportunities across Warwickshire and provides a jobs portal that participants in the programme can access to search for jobs within the Fair Chance employer network.
The UWWP programme consists of five community-based employment support sessions.
These provide accessible county-wide support to Warwickshire’s Ukrainian communities, enabling them to explore employment opportunities and use their existing skills to fill skills gaps.
Among those who have completed the programme and started employment is Larysa Kushnir, who is now working as an interpreter.
Larysa came to the UK with her seven-year-old child under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme last December and lives with her sponsor.
Having taught English in Ukraine for 21 years, she started the UWWP project in February, with support from Employment Support Adviser Maxine Wykes, attending weekly sessions at her local library.
Larysa was interested in working as a teaching assistant, but her biggest barrier was where to start as she needed to upgrade her qualifications. She also needed help composing a CV and cover letter and had only one reference, so the adviser supplied a second reference, removing that barrier to work.
The programme also helped her obtain a travel discount card so she could travel for interviews, employability workshops and meetings at the Jobcentre.
The workshops gave her all the help she needed to search and apply for jobs, a better understanding of UK employers’ expectations, interview techniques and information about starting a job and paying contributions. A CV and cover letter were created and uploaded to Indeed to enable her to start job searching and a referral made for her to complete a Statement of Comparability, to convert her qualifications.
Support was then given for completion of an application for a position as an interpreter at Long Moor Training Camp. Her commitment and resilience were rewarded when, after interview, she was offered the job.
Larysa said: “I was looking for a work as a teacher assistant but faced some barriers as I had to upgrade my qualifications first.
“But due to the support of the Ukrainian Working in Warwickshire Programme, I have now got a job and I really enjoy it. Thank you very much to all for your wonderful support.”