IKEA works with the Scottish Refugee Council to provide internships
REFUGEES are offered the chance to “feel part of society again” thanks to a new partnership between two charities and the furniture giant Ikea.
More than 200 people who have fled war, terror, violence and persecution will be given employment opportunities through the program run with the Scottish Refugee Council and the Refugee Council.
As part of a partnership announced as part of Refugee Festival Scotland and Refugee Week, program participants will be paid minimum living wage and have the opportunity to gain permanent employment.
Sabir Zazai, CEO of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We work every day with people who are desperate to return to paid work and to feel like part of society again.
“Teachers, lawyers, architects, businessmen who struggle to have their professional experience and qualifications recognized here.
“We are grateful to Ikea for coming to us with this opportunity.
“These paid internships allow people with different professional backgrounds to try out new roles and see how transferable their skills are and, most importantly, being paid means people feel valued and recognized for their contribution.
“Working and earning a living helps restore confidence and a sense of dignity that may have been affected by experiences of conflict, flight and the asylum system itself.
“When the refugees are doing well, we are all doing well. ”
Refugees can access a program of workshops introducing them to the core values of Ikea, the UK labor market in general and they also receive support with CV writing, applications, interview skills and job training. customer service.
Longer internships then allow them to gain work experience at IKEA while developing their English language skills, improving their confidence at work and becoming an active member of the IKEA colleague community.
Refugees who complete the eight-week internships, which are paid at minimum living wage and allow participants to be part of the IKEA Employee Rewards program, then receive an employability skills pack to take away for future applications, some with the possibility to get permanent positions at IKEA.
Neda enjoys her internship at Ikea in Braehead. She said: “The work Ikea is doing is really great.
“Ikea and the Scottish Refugee Council did five days of training which was very helpful, especially since we come from different backgrounds and languages.
“It helped us prepare for our interviews and the internship. Another good thing is that the internship lasts eight weeks.
“If it was just a short internship you might not be showing your best, but over eight weeks they have the opportunity to watch you grow up and learn the language of the business.
“I already love my colleagues and it really helped me with my confidence.
“And even if at the end of this internship there is no recruitment, I can still put this experience on my CV.
“But fingers crossed, they hire me because I love working with Ikea.”
Refugees very often face enormous challenges when looking for work in the UK.
Some fled their war-torn home countries before completing their studies.
Others are highly skilled professionals who struggle to get their qualifications recognized in the UK.
For many years, the two refugee charities have worked with various companies to provide specialist support aimed at helping refugees adjust to the UK labor market, restart or start a new career and ultimately to become financially independent in their new home.
Since the partnership began in April 2021, Ikea has delivered workshops to 23 refugees, resulting in nine internships in Ikea Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield, Peterborough and Croydon.
It plans to provide 180 placements over the next three years in at least 12 Ikea stores, focusing on areas of the UK with resettled refugee communities.
Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer at Ikea UK and IE, said: “At Ikea we have a huge opportunity to use our global reach, our values and our vision to continue to create a better everyday life for the world. greater number. – in particular those who are the most vulnerable.
“We firmly believe that supporting refugees is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for our business.
“We also know that refugees can bring high levels of resilience, adaptability, problem solving and entrepreneurship.
“Finding a solution to the migration crisis is a global issue.
“As a large retailer and employer, we have a responsibility to help tackle it.”