Tips for supporting a newly arrived family to access volunteer or employment opportunities
As part of the application process, you will have thought about how you could assist adults to access volunteer and employment opportunities. You might already have plans on how you will support adults in writing their CV, or preparing for interviews.
It can be a challenge to manage the expectations of newcomers in terms of employment and how possible it is to find a job, whether in their previous field or in a new one. This will be a disappointment for family members, but don’t avoid addressing this, however, do try to focus on the things that can be done to find work in the future.
- Do not shy away from talking about the issues facing job seekers in the UK. Look at job vacancies with the family you are supporting using websites such as indeed.com, totaljobs.com and through the local job centre. There are many job sites available.
- Be strategic. Take some time with the person you support to explore what opportunities are available locally. Remember and remind them that they are looking for the first step into a work in the UK, not a job for life!
- When you were planning your application, you will have researched what possible volunteering or work experience opportunities were available in your area. Revisit these avenues – are they still possible or available? Would this family member have an interest if so?
- Explore remote working or volunteering. If it’s possible, assist the family member you’re supporting to work out what they would need to make this work. Do they need a device to work on? Any IT equipment or support? Does the volunteer-involving organisation contribute to internet costs? Could the person you support participate in language exchange, or teach someone their native language? Could they share a skill that they have?
- Remember that all progress toward the end goal of employment is empowering. If the person you support is interested in working in hospitality, many training providers are able to carry out online training courses in languages other than English – certification is always going to help toward employment. Many training courses will have a charge, explore funding opportunities that may be available
- Revisit the Employment section of the Welcome to the UK booklet that the family should have been given on arrival. This covers not only ways to find a job, but also the rights and legal side of employment.
- Learning English will open up more avenues to employment for newly arrived families. Consider providing informal ESOL opportunities which are focussed on employment goals, using the language that will be in that place of work.
Whilst it’s important to manage expectations around employment, it’s also important for you to be kind to yourselves. Community Sponsorship Groups cannot magically conjure up a job opportunity, and the family member you support is already going through a huge amount of changes which may make employment slightly lower on their list of priorities to say, learning English or settling into a new area.