Business

Businesses across the north of England come together to offer a one stop shop for jobs for Ukrainian refugees

Leaders commit to welcoming and supporting all who are fleeing Ukraine, while new platform provides employment and support opportunities.

A consortium of business leaders from across the North of England, including Stockport, have joined forces to provide employment opportunities and support to Ukrainians impacted by the invasion of their country.

United For Ukraine is a coalition brought together at the request of leaders from across the North, including the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), with support from the NP11 group of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The initiative is focused around a digital platform, created by the Growth Company, which connects employers with evacuees.

For Ukrainian nationals, and other refugees who are eligible, the ‘United For Ukraine’ website provides a searchable list of job vacancies with employers who have committed to providing good job opportunities in a supportive environment.

For employers, the free-to-use site provides an easy and direct way to communicate job opportunities and access the right support, to employ those coming here who wish to, and are able to, work.

Vacancies listed on the site will adhere to criteria such as the offer at least a real living wage, and disclosable salaries, to ensure the opportunities on offer are quality jobs.

The site – which is accessible in both English and Ukrainian – also provides signposting to support services and referral agencies for Ukrainian refugees, such as free English language courses and how to open a bank account, as well as services providing advice on issues including housing, work permits and childcare.

It follows the news that the UK Government ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has seen more than 100,000 people sign up to provide Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country with accommodation.

Those refugees who enter under the scheme will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years, during which time they will be able to work and access benefits and public services – including healthcare and state schooling.

Organisations involved in the creation of ‘United For Ukraine’ include KPMG, PWC, Creative Concern, DWF Law, EY, Cirrus Connect, Bruntwood, Siemens, Northern Power Women, Net Zero North West and Agent.

Paul Richards, Director of Development and Regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “It has been fantastic to see the northern business community come together in this way and to support Ukraine, which has seen millions of people have to uproot their whole lives.

“This scheme will offer employment opportunities, as well as signposting to support those as they learn English and find housing.

“We applaud this initiative and want to ensure people who are provided sanctuary in our borough are able to settle and feel welcome.

“The outpouring of support and generosity shown by people in the Borough has been a privilege to see.”

Mike Wilton, Director at Arup, and NWBLT Board Member who has chaired the coalition, said: “Now is the time for us to work together to do all we can to support these refugees who are fleeing the conflict with Russia. I’m incredibly proud of everyone who has joined forces to make this happen, on an entirely voluntary basis, using their own time and resources to do the right thing.

“Not only is this incredibly important to support Ukrainian nationals, but it’s also hugely beneficial for our region. We know that many skills gaps exist in the North, and we have an unprecedented level of unfilled vacancies, so this will help us to bridge those gaps – there are so many reasons for us to get behind this initiative.”

Professor Juergen Maier CBE, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “It’s wonderful to see the northern business community coming together to provide employment opportunities for refugees.

“We want to send a message to those fleeing the appalling situation in their home country that they are very welcome here and that we are ready to support them however we can.”

To find out more and to support the initiative, visit United for Ukraine.

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