Imagine this. You’ve just ended up in rural China.  You don’t speak the language, don’t know the customs, and don’t know who you can turn to or who you can trust.  You were a history teacher back in the UK – but even if you did speak Chinese, no-one in rural China is interested in the Tudors, and in any case the Chinese don’t recognise your degree from Exeter University – in fact they’ve never heard of it.  Someone eventually encourages you to come and plant vegetables in their garden and lets you take some home.  That’s nice but you’re not using your talents or your skills.

That is precisely the position so many of our visitors find themselves in.  Strangers in a very strange land, wanting to work, but with none of the cultural tools to do so.

Steps2Work is a new programme we have developed specifically to give our people the skills and knowledge they need to find work in the UK which matches their skills, qualifications and experience.  Give a person a job – and they’ve got one job.  Give the person the skills to find work – they can contribute to their community for life.

If you can help, or to find out more, please contact us.

Latest News – Please read Khulood’s story in this Swindon Advertiser feature article. Khulood has completed the Steps2Work programme and expects to start volunteering at the Great Western Hospital eye clinic later this year – she was an successful optician with her own booming business in Syria before the war tore it apart and she and her 5 children had to flee for their safety. A very inspirational story.

What is Steps2Work?

Steps2Work is designed specifically for the Harbour Project to support our people into the UK employment market and then help them thrive in it.  We are the wind under their wings that can help them soar.

How do you do this?

The core elements of Steps2Work are community integration and support, improving English proficiency levels, and decoding the mystery of UK work culture. Each person receives intensive coaching and one-to-one support including preparing CVs and interview practice.

Just any job?

No, Steps2Work is designed to help our people find employment that matches their skills, qualifications and experience.

What qualifications?

Our people are a great talent pool for Swindon employers looking for dedicated, talented determined employees. Many have qualifications in IT, business, the health professions or engineering. Others are commercial painters, long-haul lorry drivers, teachers or farmers.  All speak at least two languages, many speak three or four, and are ideal employees for companies looking to export markets in the Middle East and Africa.

Are you doing this alone?

No. Steps2Work is developing partnerships with individual employers like the Great Western Hospital, business organisations like Business West, charities, Swindon Job Centre, council representatives and local education providers. It takes a community to integrate new comers – so a big HELLO to you wonderful, generous, warm hearted, Swindon locals.

How about volunteering?

Yes, voluntary placements can be an invaluable way to upskill and become familiar with UK employment culture while improving English levels at the same time.

Any successes?

Yes.  We’re a very new programme, but already successes are coming through. Within the space of a few weeks, one of our people has rocketed from casual night-shifts in a warehouse into a full-time web developer position; two others have moved into full-time employment with training and career prospects, two are already in voluntary placements or in training, while another two expect to be starting soon.

I’m a business, what can I do?

Contact us.  Your knowledge of the UK employment culture will be invaluable to our people. We can help you share your knowledge and expertise as employers, managers and business owners - over a coffee, or an informal chat. You could also include one or two of our people on training days - or even team building exercises.  Succeeding in the UK starts with integration and a sense of belonging to a community. You can help build that.

I’m an individual, what can I do?

Don’t be a stranger – if you have someone from Harbour start in your organisation, smile at them. Have a chat. Offer them the gifts of warmth and friendship. Remember, from their point of view they have come into your space – they’ll be waiting for signs from you that they’re welcome.

Can I donate?

Of course you can! We are a charity that relies on volunteers and donations and would warmly welcome any support you may be able to offer.

Steps2Work Courses and Activities May 2018