Government taskforce claims refugees could be the answer to plugging UK skills gap

Refugees could be the latest answer to plugging the UK skills gap, according to a government taskforce.

One in three migrants coming to work in the UK are “highly skilled and knowledgeable with professional qualifications”, capable of working in specialist teaching jobs, the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) Refugee Teachers Task Force has advised.

The group will launch a ‘hub’ or information point funded by the DCSF for employers to find out the employment status of refugees.

Robert Garnett, co-chair of the taskforce and director of children’s and young people’s services in Nottinghamshire, said refugees seeking to work as teaching assistants and in administrative posts also face barriers arising from uncertainty and lack of experience in dealing with the issues among employers.

He said: “Refugees are keen to start a new life in Britain, integrate, find work and contribute to our society. About one in three are highly skilled and knowledgeable with professional qualifications, and could boost the pool of talent available in specialist subjects such as physics and chemistry.

“However, employers may be unaware of them, or overlook them, while refugees are finding it difficult to understand the steps they need to qualify for teaching and other posts, and to identify suitable jobs to apply for. Both are missing out.

“This initiative is a step towards helping both employers and refugees to find the information and advice they need and open doors to new opportunities.”

The information hub, managed by Beryl Randall at the migrant workers’ body Employability Forum, brings together more than 20 public and voluntary sector organisations in London involved in education and in assisting refugees.

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