Nineteen major companies in the UK have come together to offer mentoring opportunities to 615 LGBTQ refugees over the next three years. These companies are:
Bain, Biogen, Citi, Coca-Cola together with Costa Coffee and Innocent, Endeavor, GSK, Hilton, Jacobs, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Linklaters, McKinsey, Novartis, PayPal, Pfizer, PwC, Santander, The Very Group, and Unilever.
Employees from these companies will support LGBTQI refugees to learn new skills, prepare to find a job and to increase their confidence and self-esteem. This programme is a partnership between Tent, Stonewall and Micro Rainbow.
Obstacles to finding employment
Micro Rainbow’s work and consultations with LGBTQI refugees show that the major obstacles to finding employment are:
- the lack of UK-based work experience as well as their refugee status, race, sexuality and gender which are intersecting issues that put them on the fringes of the job market
- the qualifications that they gained in their countries of origin are often not valid in the UK
- low confidence and self-esteem
- the suspicion of potential employers as soon as they became aware that they are refugees.
Ericky Mpogolo is a newly granted refugee from Tanzania and will coordinate this mentoring programme for Micro Rainbow. Reflecting on his lived experience as a gay refugee he said:
This programme will help not only refugees who have just been granted, but asylum seekers too, who most of the time feel invisible. One thing that kept me going was my volunteering with Micro Rainbow. It gave me purpose and helped me to decide what I want to do in the future. The asylum process makes you lose your confidence and your self belief. If this opportunity had come up when I was an asylum seeker or if I didn’t have a job after being granted refugee status I would have jumped at it. Places of work are one of the best places to introduce people to different cultures, beliefs, sexualities, gender identities and many other identities. As we all know, people spend more time at work than anywhere else. I wish all the best to the project and those who take part in it and I hope it grows even bigger.
Nontu Maraire is a refugee from Zimbabwe who is responsible for the overall Moving On work of Micro Rainbow. She added:
The mentoring programme will give Micro Rainbow’s beneficiaries a platform to experience life-changing and practical opportunities. The programme will allow our beneficiaries to expand their knowledge and skills, gaining valuable advice from experienced mentors as well as building their confidence, self-esteem and potential professional networks. Better self-confidence will support new refugees to find jobs and settle in their new communities.
If you are interested and you are an LGBTQI asylum seeker or refugee speak with Nontu and Ericky by emailing [email protected]. We will support you both to apply and throughout the scheme!
Micro Rainbow will accept applications for this programme until 12th November 2021.