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Count Me In is DPIA’s latest employability course designed to help sanctuary seekers enter the UK workforce. DPIA are experts in employability, having run five projects since 2006 dedicated to providing training and advice on getting ready for work.

What is the project?
Count Me In helps asylum seekers and refugees to gain essential employability skills such as getting information on jobs, writing a target CV, preparing a covering letter, interview techniques, and giving insight into jobs in other sectors. The project takes place one day a week on a Thursday in our Cardiff offices.
The project has addressed multiple barriers preventing refugees from integrating into the UK job market. As a result of receiving employability related support refugees became closer to finding jobs, helping them to better integrate into their communities and feel valued.

When was it set up and who pays for it?
Our current Count Me In project began in March 2020. It is funded from DPIA’s unrestricted budget, meaning that this project relies on organisational funding and donations.

The Count Me In project was originally designed for the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) in West Gwent in August 2019. The funding for this part of the project was provided by West Gwent Local Authorities (Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen Councils) to support refugees accommodated under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme to develop core employability skills that are relevant to UK work context.
Our most recent employability skills project for asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff and Vale was funded by HAU Third Sector Fund in 2019 and took place between November 2019 and January 2020.
The projects listed above were funded for a short period of time but these employability skills projects have led to DPIA setting up Count Me In (CMI) project in Cardiff. This new version of CMI project is well placed to continue with where these two successful projects left off.

What has it achieved?
The outcomes below summarize the CMI project’s impact on helping refugees to develop essential employability skills:

“I can see how our service users learn so much information about how to move into employment in the UK from CMI which they were not previously aware of. This information is not always available to them from other sources because it can sometimes be assumed that the process of finding a job is the same everywhere, but this is not always the case. It is a great pleasure to prepare and fully equip refugees and asylum seekers in order to try to put them on an even footing with British citizens when trying to find work in the UK.”

Abigail Bennett (Employment Support Officer)

Michael attended our employability skills workshop in 2019 after recently arriving. As an Asylum seeker he had no right to work in the UK, but was keen to begin learning these skills.

He completed an employability essentials online course with our support. We then helped him to identify what he would need to put into a CV. We also registered him with Careers Wales and he then completed a questionnaire about the types of work which suit him to give him some guidance whilst applying for jobs.

Michael is a qualified chemical engineer in his home country. We applied to UK Naric to get a certificate of comparability for his qualifications from his home country.
When Michael was granted refugee status, found work as a cleaner in Excel London. This is now The London Nightingale Hospital, so he has now become a frontline worker.

“I want to thank you for your support, you really helped me. Now I have a nice place to live and I have a job. I am now working as a cleaner, but I will do this temporarily until I can secure something else.”

How can I join?
Count Me In takes place every Thursday between 10am-2pm at DPIA office in Cardiff.
All asylum seekers and refugees living in Cardiff and Newport are eligible to benefit from the project. However, as we are flexible in our eligibility criteria we can support refugees and asylum seekers accommodated in other local authorities provided that it is practical for them to engage with our workshops in Cardiff.
To find out more, please contact:

Abigail Bennett | Project Officer | | 029 2078 9733 | 07538603595