Female refugees can face many challenges accessing employment in Ireland, which can include knowledge deficits of how the Irish labour market and recruitment process work, non-recognition of prior work experience or qualifications, limited English language skills, or a lack of childcare supports. Difficulties in finding work are often compounded by the experience of ‘institutionalization’ under the Direct Provision system. Many are underemployed due to the urgency to earn or struggle with precarious living arrangements.
As part of its integration work, the Irish Refugee Council launched a pilot programme in 2018 aimed at addressing these barriers. This programme was funded by the Dormant Accounts Fund through Pobal on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The IRC Employment Programme aims to assist female refugees by providing employment preparation training in a peer-supported environment with one-to-one support. Participants may be assigned a mentor, or English language buddy, and are supported in finding a work placement and applying for jobs. These tailored supports are crucial to helping our clients retain stable employment in an area reflective of their training, experience and skills.
“Meeting other women from different backs with similar challenges to mine was amazing - we shared stories and ideas and for once my situation (being unemployed) wasn’t such a big issue but a process of learning. The employment program gave me back the confidence to go out and get what I believed in and what I wanted.” (Zah)
As of March 2019, 15 women we have supported are in employment. We are entering the second year of this programme and are actively seeking placement partnerships. As an employer the benefits of partnering include: access to a talent pipeline, increased cultural awareness,improved employee engagement, reduced recruitment costs, along with the opportunity to make your workforce more diverse, inclusive and socially responsible. The IRC will support you throughout the placement.
For more information on partnering with the Irish Refugee Council, please contact: