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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 12:04 GMT
Courses help refugees into work
Lubov Alkhimov
Asylum seekers are already shadowing in Scottish classrooms
Refugees living in Glasgow are being given help to get long-term jobs.

The move comes in two new projects being launched by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to help plug the city's widening skills gap.

They aim not only to find candidates work, but also give practical advice on how to dress and how to network.

There are currently several thousand unfilled vacancies in the city, from the health service to the construction industry.

Refugees are six times more likely to be unemployed, although half are professionally qualified.

However, a lack of specialist support has made it difficult for them to secure permanent jobs.

Refugees may struggle with language skills or just understanding business etiquette in the UK
Duncan Tannahill
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
In addition to finding work, the new schemes will also allow them to brush up on their English and give advice on cultural issues.

The courses are believed to be the first of their kind in Scotland.

Duncan Tannahill, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said it hoped the schemes would help to plug the skills gap.

'Valuable project'

He said some people arrived in Scotland with very little cash and it was important to help them with exam expenses to gain qualifications.

"Refugees may struggle with language skills or just understanding business etiquette in the UK and we are putting them through a programme to help them with interviews," he added.

Philip Ford, marketing manager for the Glasgow project, said he had met the Scottish Refugee Council, community groups and development companies to discuss the best way forward.

They're keen to learn and are enthusiastic - it's music to an employer's ears
Jim McPhee
McPhee's Bakers
He said: "We've also had refugees coming in for open days and interviews and they all feel this is a very valuable project which will help them gain employment."

One company, McPhee's Bakers, said it had found staffing a problem, especially with its 0400 shifts.

Owner Jim McPhee said its newest recruits, two Iraqi Kurds, were a breath of fresh air who were keen to turn up on time and to develop new skills.

Mr McPhee said: "It's the old fashioned words that we no longer speak about like politeness, manners and respect.

"Those people coming in have all that and you don't realise how much that's missing from our society until they show us the way.

"They're keen to learn and are enthusiastic - it's music to an employer's ears."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Kate Fawcett reports
"There are several thousand unfilled vacancies"



SEE ALSO:
First citizenship ceremony due
02 Feb 04  |  Politics
Scotland 'needs migrant workers'
22 Feb 04  |  Scotland


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