On October 5th
Micro Rainbow’s Moving On programme organised an employability workshop with Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP
. Weil, Gotshal, and Manges LLP is a major law firm based in the UK with subsidiary branches across multiple countries. Weil has worked with Micro Rainbow for many years, and the law firm was instrumental in helping Micro Rainbow open the very first safe house for LGBTQI asylum seekers in 2017.
Micro Rainbow hosts these employment workshops for the Moving On programme
once a month to help beneficiaries gain and practise skills that would help them fare better in the job search and market of the UK. These are practical workshops to help build confidence, improve CV writing, and speed networking. In the past Micro Rainbow has hosted many of these workshops and partnered with multiple companies across London and the UK.
Hurdles to overcome
After coming to the UK as asylum seekers, many struggle to find work after being granted their refugee status and right to work. Much of this can come from difficulties with language and lack of experience, however, even those with past experience have trouble transferring over their credentials and qualifications. Beyond this, some are unfamiliar with the culture of UK interviews and networking. They may feel overly nervous which would lead to a poor interview that may cost them a position or opportunity. These Moving On workshops and events look to directly combat this uncertainty and unfamiliarity.
Interview training and attendee feedback
The workshop had beneficiaries undergo mock interviews and networking opportunities to increase their connections and proficiency with social media applications like LinkedIn
. According to those running the workshop and from the beneficiaries who attended the mock interview sessions were the most engaging and popular aspect of the day.
Attendees came from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, and Honduras. Everyone in attendance were forced to flee their home countries because of the persecution, violence, and threats they faced because of their sexuality or gender expression. Several of the attendees have lived in Micro Rainbow’ safe housing for LGBTQI asylum seekers.
Grace, a Micro Rainbow safe house resident from Cameroon, who has recently been granted her refugee status attended the event and noted that the “Mock interview was very useful to me because I have never worked in the UK, and I don’t know how interviews are being conducted generally”. Grace spoke of how helpful the volunteers who helped run the workshops were and how they gladly shared tips, advice, and personal anecdotes of their experience in the job market. This kind of personal advice is imperative for asylum seekers looking for work as they provide first-hand insight into the inner workings of British working culture. Grace’s next steps in her career were to find employment and gain a university education as she believes “knowledge is power.”
Another workshop attendee also spoke incredibly positively about their experience at this event. Elizabeth, from Zimbabwe, spoke about her experience and how the day benefited her. Again, the mock interviews seemed to be the most beneficial part of the day as she learned “the importance of research and types of conversations you might have moving from the entrance of the … building to the elevator.” Her next step is to begin applying for jobs once her permission to work has been granted.
Perspective on the day
Micro Rainbow’s Employment and Integration Officer said this about the event and the impact these workshops have:
“This workshop provided a unique experience for attendees as it is a special occasion to have representatives and volunteers from companies to provide in-person training and advice during these sessions. The participants were particularly excited and thankful for the mock interview training they underwent. Many had stated that nerves and anxiety during interviews were some of their greatest drawbacks and that this workshop helped them overcome those.”
If you wish to help fund events like these and some of the many other programs and opportunities Micro Rainbow offers LGBTQI asylum seekers, consider becoming an ally today!
If you are an organisation that would like to partner with us to help host one of these workshops and spread your brand while providing an incredibly helpful resource for LGBTQI asylum seekers, reach out to us at [email protected]