Refugees graduate from hospitality training scheme

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The 11-strong group undertook an intensive six-week course to prepare them for bar and hotel work.

12th August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A group of refugees are celebrating after graduating from a trailblazing new hospitality training scheme.

The 11 graduates, from Algeria, Eritrea, Iran, Russia and Sudan, undertook an intensive six-week course at City of Glasgow College to train them for jobs in the hospitality sector.

Delivered by hospitality industry charity The Springboard Charity, and supported by the Scottish Refugee Council, the initiative was established to provide specific skills to refugees who are able to take up a new right to work. 

Springboard will now support the refugees as they look for jobs in hotels and bars around Scotland.

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell presented the refugees with certificates at a graduation event in Glasgow.

She said: “Congratulations to all the graduates of this six-week immersive course in hospitality training. This is a fantastic achievement and the start of an excellent opportunity to take valuable professional skills into the hospitality sector in Scotland.

“This project is an innovative example of how the private sector can play their part in supporting people who have come to Scotland as refugees into employment. Refugees have a wealth of experience and I believe they should be welcomed, supported and integrated into our communities from day one of arrival.”

Graduates were provided with access to core employability skills, coaching and specialist bartender training, in addition to four industry recognised qualifications.

Neda Nazari, from Iran, said the course had made an enormous difference to her life.

“It was a fantastic new experience for me which improved my confidence as well as my grasp of the English language,” she said.

“The programme has opened my eyes to the world of hospitality, which as well as helping me find a job, has also had an impact on my personal life. I've learned lots of information about responsible alcohol service, food hygiene and licensing laws. I now have new knowledge that I can share with my friends.”

Neda is now seeking part-time work in the hospitality sector while she pursues further studies in travel and tourism.

The course was part of drink’s giant Diageo’s Learning for Life programme, which gives individuals training to work in the hospitality sector.

Aileen Keyes, the programme’s European head, said: “Our Learning for Life programme has created life-changing opportunities for hundreds of unemployed Scots, and we are extremely proud to now be able to extend these opportunities to people who have sought sanctuary here in Scotland.

“The hospitality industry can offer amazing careers and it is great to see these opportunities being opened up to refugees.”

Inga McVicar, national head of employability for The Springboard Charity, added: “We created a bespoke course to enable time to work with participants on their English language skills, conversational as well as hospitality industry specific terms; community, culture and employer expectations; as well as providing support to the participants on wide range of additional barriers to employment, including working with partners to help resolve housing and benefits issues.

“The City of Glasgow College has been instrumental in both working with us to identify and invite participants to the course, as well as hosting training sessions, and the hospitality industry in Glasgow have been fantastic through supporting to provide real life experience of the workplace.”