Jobs and Career Help for BME Women


A job scheme set up by a housing association has been extended to help BME women get into work and improve their careers.

The RISE into Employment scheme has a success rate of almost two in three course finding work. It’s run by Arhag Housing Association with Olmec, who set it up initially with the aim of helping its tenants improve their job prospects.

But such has been the success of RISE that after an initial expansion to offer places to other London Housing Associations, they are now offering specific courses to BME women across the capital.

This is due to £1 million in funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Tampon Tax Fund (TTF), which Olmec, Arhag, Praxis, IKWRO, and Migrants’ Rights Network successfully bid for earlier this year.

While each of the partners have their specialist projects, Olmec is using some of this money for courses tailored for BME women over two years.

It is being run by Sainga Tony, of Olmec, who said the scheme was already having a major impact. She said: “On one recent intensive course to help BME women get into meaningful work we met an Afghan woman who at first, barely had the confidence to speak to her classmates on the course. She was referred to us by one of our partners as a victim of domestic violence living in a hostel, she was isolated, knowing no-one in the UK but her husband, who she was fleeing.

“By the end of the week she had developed a new found confidence and made new friends and began exchanging phone numbers with the fellow women on the course. She has a new CV, and a set of skills to help her look for work. This client has since found a part time job and stated that ‘I found the interview process really easy after Rise and am really thankful to you’.”

Not everyone on the course has such a challenging background, but the aim is to ensure all students leave with the same underlying skills.

Fundamentals include writing CVs, application forms, interview practice, business attire, and how to behave in a workplace.

But RISE is also about empowering, building confidence and making people feel self-worth, helping them interact socially and to make friendships.

Arhag chief executive Cedric Boston said: “Outcomes from previous courses include jobs as an operational director, employment adviser, sexual health worker and classroom assistant.

“We know that BME people face discrimination in the job market but instead of dwelling on this we encourage them to focus on what they can do to secure a better outcome from the system.”

Sainga Tony added: “it is not all about the volume of jobs, RISE is also about quality. It’s about helping people find careers, jobs they want to get out of bed to do, to help others and to feel like valued members of society.”

To apply for the course contact sainga.tony@olmec-ec.org.uk

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