A day of dignity and hope for refugees worldwide
World Refugee Day on 20 June acknowledges the strength and courage of refugees while encouraging public awareness and support of those who have had to flee their homeland because of conflict or natural disaster.
We work closely with Breaking Barriers and Business in the Community (BITC) to support those who are struggling to find work appropriate for their skills, knowledge and experience.
In London, our partnership with Breaking Barriers, a charity supporting refugees into meaningful employment, sees us run workshops for individuals to help develop skills and build confidence. On Tuesday 11 June we partnered with leading law firm Mayer Brown to deliver our latest workshop - Interview Skills for Refugees. Volunteers from Grant Thornton, Mayer Brown, Hilton and Kier Group worked with refugees to develop their interview skills which were put to good use in mock interviews.
A volunteer's perspective
Jerome Clarisse, Talent Solutions Manager, who volunteered said, “My experience was yet again very fulfilling: I remember how long it took me in my early professional years to learn the codes of interviewing and etiquette within a corporate environment. Had I had a guide to make plain such codes at the time, my transition into work would probably have been a much smoother ride.
“For many of the workshop participants with UK refugee status whom we support, employability remains but one hurdle among many other tribulations they have had (and continue) to face in order to integrate and build a new life. Yet imparting them with the knowledge and skills to plug this gap is a simple gesture that can make such a world of difference to them and their future careers.
“The reason I keep coming to these workshops is that I don’t believe in allowing stigmas to discard human potential: it is important for forward-thinking firms like Grant Thornton to take a meaningful stance on such issues and effectively demonstrate that segments of the UK labour market which typically sit at its margins – like workers with refugee status – actually carry huge untapped potential for employers, especially at a time of full employment, talent scarcity and Brexit-related uncertainty.”
In addition to the workshops we offer six-month work experience placements, giving individuals the experience that is required when seeking employment. The placements provide an insight into UK work culture and a much-needed confidence boost to those that have been unable to work whilst waiting for refugee status.
A Breaking Barriers candidate who is on placement as a Team Assistant in Global Employer Services said, "I am really enjoying my time at Grant Thornton so far. I am learning so much and this opportunity will help me to build my skills and confidence which will help me to find work after my placement."
Another beneficiary of a work placement is Prudence Mwanza. Prudence successfully applied the lessons and new skills she gained from her time with Grant Thornton. She went on to find a role in the education sector, working as a quality auditor and consultant. Watch: Pru’s story
Behind the scenes with Business in the Community
In the regions our Birmingham office has run a “Behind the Scenes” workshop with BITC for refugees through Business in the Community, a charity dedicated to responsible business. To understand more about the different roles within our business, guests had the opportunity to take a tour of the building and meet people across all levels to hear about their own routes into Grant Thornton and their day to day roles.
Grant Thornton is very much committed to shifting the narrative around refugees from one of challenge to one of opportunity. And we are looking forward to creating further opportunities to help refugees into meaningful employment through our people, our network and Breaking Barriers.
To learn about other ways we are making a difference in our communities, visit our sustainability page.