A Shropshire plant hire firm is recruiting refugees in an effort to combat skills shortages.
Hawk Plant Hire, which provides heavy machinery and operators across the country, is training refugees as dump-truck drivers to combat high staff turnover and problems with recruitment.
Dan Evans, operations recruitment executive for Hawk, said four refugees started work at the company this month following a two-week training programme. A further eight are due to start soon.
The recruits are from various countries, mainly Iran, but also Russia, Albania and Somalia.
"They are paid well, which helps to retain them. They are also provided with transport - a scooter or van," said Evans.
"If we can attract and train refugees, we are more likely to keep them."
Evans said the company, which employs 200 drivers, had initially faced problems recruiting refugees because not enough is done to get them employment.
Hawk turned to freelance consultant Simon Coates to find out how to access refugee recruits.
Coates said there needs to be a more cohesive approach to help refugees into work. "Employers often have to work quite hard to find refugee workers," he said.
Both Coates and Evans backed Personnel Today's Refugees in Employment campaign calling for a national refugee skills database and for the Government to make it simpler to recruit refugees.
Coates believes many employers miss out on recruiting good quality refugee workers because companies are concerned they might have difficulty getting settled and have immediate money problems.
Progress so far in the campaign
Personnel Today has been campaigning over the past year for the Government to introduce a co-ordinated strategy to get asylum-seekers and refugees - who are often highly-skilled - into employment.
Many organisations - from hospitals to blue-chip IT giants - still face skills shortages, despite the economic downturn. Joint research by Personnel Today and the Refugee Council showed that 60 per cent of refugees are unemployed for more than a year.
Former immigration minister Lord Rooker promised that a skills database would be introduced to keep a record of the skills and qualifications of asylum-seekers, and enable the Employment Service to match refugees to app