Refugee Week – Connecting Opportunities Case Study
When Cal gained sponsorship from his home country’s government to study for a PhD in Business in the UK he was delighted. He came to the UK with his wife and four young children and began his studies. Living in a new country was an adventure for the whole family as the children settled into local nurseries and schools, began learning English and his wife began to build on her spoken and written English skills.
Sadly, when Cal completed his studies war had broken out in his home country and although he and his family had wanted to return it just wasn’t safe to do so in the current situation. In order to stay in the UK Cal had to apply for Refugee Status and await the outcome of his claim. This came as a huge blow to the family who missed their home country and their extended family and friends there.
With his Refugee status confirmed officially, Cal began to look for work to support his family financially but it was tough and the family struggled to make ends meet on Universal Credit. They were also housed in temporary accommodation which felt cramped and was unsuitable for a growing young family. What had started out as an adventure for family soon became nightmare but Cal persisted in looking for work in order to improve their situation.
In August 2019, through the Job Centre, Cal was referred to the Connecting Opportunities programme at Halifax Opportunities Trust funded by Migration Yorkshire. His Key Worker helped him update his CV and assisted with his job search as well as inviting him to job fairs and integration events. Having a business background, Cal decided after several years of looking for work, to try self-employment as a way of bettering himself and his family’s financial situation. He decided to take his Private Hire Taxi test, which Connecting Opportunities were able to assist him in paying for and which he passed with ease. Cal was ready for a new start as a self-employed taxi driver. Unfortunately, the start of 2020 brought with it a global pandemic. Coronavirus and the lockdown meant that Cal was unable to move into self-employment as he had planned, though his plan is not lost – just on hold.
Cal was hugely grateful for the support he received through Connecting Opportunities and expressed an interest in becoming a Connecting Opportunities Champion to inspire other refugees and migrants. His Key Worker referred him for an interview at Migration Yorkshire headquarters in Leeds and we’re delighted to say his application was successful. Not only that but his wife and family finally feel settled in the UK, his wife is taking English classes and Cal is eager for lockdown to end so he can start work.
Well done Cal!
*we have changed the individual’s name in this case study to protect their identity.