A national charity is calling on the government to take action to enable Syrian refugees to use their skills to benefit UK society. QED Foundation has supported 1,000 new arrivals to integrate into British life every year. Now it is asking for its pioneering approach to be adopted throughout the UK to give each refugee the opportunity to contribute to the economy. ‘We applaud David Cameron’s pledge to provide a haven for an additional 20,000 people seeking safety on our shores,’ says chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE.
‘Yet we are concerned about public opposition to this decision, which is based on an unrealistic portrayal of migrants as a financial burden, rather than as a potential economic asset. ‘Our experience shows how wrong this is. Many new arrivals are highly qualified and most are determined to make a positive contribution to life in Britain. By helping them into education, training or jobs, we have been able to ensure that they can use their skills and experience to benefit society and unleash their economic potential.’
QED has been supported by the EU to run courses and activities for women who have recently settled in the UK in Yorkshire and London. These have included help with learning English as a second language; opportunities to find out more about Britain and how to live here; individual guidance and advice; visits to employers; and an introduction to British history and culture. Participants can go on to share their talents through a network that enables the women to learn more skills and become more confident in their ability to contribute to their communities. The charity also trains and supports volunteer teachers to help people to become more proficient at listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. There is additional help with accessing services and becoming more involved in community life.
For more information contact Dr Mohammed Ali OBE on 0300 500 1000. Note to editors: QED Foundation has been working to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sector for 25 years. Its main focus is to enable and support mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic minority groups. It also works directly with communities, delivering education, training, employment and health services.