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Two couples from the Ukraine helped to find work and settle in the UK

Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, over 12 million people have fled their homes, with more than 60,000 Ukrainians now calling the UK home, whether temporarily or permanently.

Two couples have been supported by Raven Housing Trust’s Working Homes employment scheme after being referred by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council. They had little or no knowledge of the UK, but were keen to get back to working and studying as soon as possible.

One of the couples, D & N, are now both in full time work after assistance has been provided by Liz, an employment adviser with Raven’s Working Homes initiative.

D has a degree in translation and speaks four languages, but her real ambition is to become a make-up artist and nail technician. She was given guidance on her CV and how to find work and now has a job in her local pharmacy, where she plans to use her staff discount to buy make-up supplies to start up her own make-up artist business.

Her husband N was in his fourth year of a dentistry degree when the couple fled Ukraine. Liz helped him write his CV and showed him how to sign up to job sites and search for work. He will continue studying for his final year with his Ukraine university, whilst supporting himself working as a room attendant at a nearby hotel. After contacting Universities and the General Dental Council (GDC), Liz gave him advice on his options and what he needs to do to complete his studies and register to practice, as well as offering to help him find a placement to support his studies if needed. She also gave him help and advice with gaining his UK driving license and an English language qualification.

N said: “Thank you so much for your support, helping me find work, and everything else. We are liking our life here in the UK, and people have been really friendly.”

The couple were also referred to Raven’s Moneywise team for help with managing their finances in the UK and provided with a laptop, through the Housing Trust’s award-winning Level Up project, to use for studying and applying for jobs. They have now moved from their temporary accommodation to a more long-term home in Crawley, after being helped by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Next Steps service to find privately rented accommodation.

Liz said: “It has been an absolute pleasure supporting D and N; their determination and resilience has been inspiring. With a little bit of support, they have taken it upon themselves to find work and have been amazingly proactive and positive about building a life for themselves in the UK.”

Debbie, employment adviser at Raven, has supported K and M, who arrived in the UK in May through the Homes4Ukraine government scheme after fleeing Kyiv and travelling across Europe to reach safety. They too were keen to start working as soon as possible, receiving support from Debbie with their CVs, and with finding work in their new home country.

The team found that M was finishing his final year of studying to become a dentist, and Liz and Debbie then discovered that, amazingly, the two trainee dentists had been studying at the same University and knew of each other. They were put in touch and have been a huge support to each other since.

M has now found work as a dental assistant, while his partner K continues to study online for her master’s degree in Spanish and English Translation. She was also helped by Debbie in her search for a job to support her studies and is now in a permanent job as a Logistics Manager for a local company.

She said: “We were so pleased to hear that we’d be getting employment support through Raven’s scheme. Suddenly we had to start our life again in another country whilst dealing with what we’d been through. To know we had someone on hand to give us career advice and help us to navigate the UK job market has been a huge relief and a big contributing factor to how quickly we’ve settled in. The job is going well, and I really like the people I work with; we often eat lunch together in the park which is helping with making friends too.”

Debbie said of her time helping the couple: “Despite the trauma this young couple have been through, they have been wonderful to work with. I’ve stayed in touch with them both and even though they’re very proactive and highly capable, it’s good for them to know where I am if they need any further help or if their circumstances change.”

The Working Homes scheme provides employment programmes and advice for Raven’s tenants as well as others in the local community who need assistance. The service provides a range of employment programmes and support including accessing quality volunteering and work experience opportunities to develop skills and confidence, as well as guidance for CV writing, interview skills and advice on career building.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Working Homes employment service, you can email employment@ravenht.org.uk or find out more here.

Image caption:
M working locally as a dental assistant

For more information:
Sarah Thomas, Group Account Director at See Media
0121 827 6625 or sarah.thomas@see-media.co.uk

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