Priti Patel: World Jewish Relief plays vital role in resettlement of refugees
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Priti Patel: World Jewish Relief plays vital role in resettlement of refugees

Home Secretary praises charity's Specialist Training and Employment Programme, as the organisation becomes the largest provider of employment support to new arrivals

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Home Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, met two senior officials of World Jewish Relief on Tuesday to mark almost five years since the launch of the charity’s Specialist Training and Employment Programme, or STEP.

The STEP scheme, developed and run by World Jewish Relief, has helped almost 1,000 refugees who have resettled in the UK. With funding from the Jewish community, the EU and the Home Office, STEP has been delivering tailored and intensive employment support to resettled refugees since January 2016.

WJR’s chief executive Paul Anticoni and UK programme director Janice Lopatkin MBE briefed the Home Secretary on STEP’s outreach. It operates in 12 regions in the UK, working with NGOs and local authorities and is achieving employment outcomes between 19–29 per cent — compared to a national average of two per cent without this provision. World Jewish Relief is now the single largest provider of resettled refugee employment support.

Juman, a programme participant with WJR

One of STEP’s beneficiaries is Juman, who came to Coventry in 2018, aged 22. She initially struggled to find work, but through the STEP programme was given guidance on routes into employment. Juman was offered a two-day training with Marks and Spencer, followed by a two-week placement in one of their stores. In late 2019 Juman was offered a full-time position, and was recently named the company’s employee of the year. She said: “The training was really helpful in building my confidence. It taught me to improve my CV and taught me interview skills. It felt like people cared about us”.

Screenshot of Abdullah, another participant with WJR

Priti Patel said: “Our refugee resettlement schemes have helped tens of thousands of people rebuild their lives in the UK, and World Jewish Relief have played a vital role in their delivery, making a real and positive difference to so many lives.

“Our new firm and fair asylum system will continue to help people fleeing conflict zones, ensuring they can travel through safe and legal routes, and the work of World Jewish Relief is a great example of how helping people directly from affected regions can change lives for the better.”

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