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Brightwork Group helps match hard-working refugees with willing employers

It has found work and willing employers for a significant number of refugees who have fled from conflict zones and political instability in their own countries - to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of both parties.

The Glasgow and Edinburgh-based company has placed asylum seekers who have been given the right to work in the UK in jobs such as domestic assistant, security guard, concierge and school caretaker. Several have gone on to permanent employment or full-time university study.

Kim Hill, principal consultant at Brightwork, said: "Many refugees have escaped from desperate circumstances, but our experience is that they are more than willing to work hard and well to build new lives for themselves in the UK.

"In fact, some of the candidates who have come from abroad to seek work here have become the best and most reliable workers that we have on our books. The response from employers has been universally positive."

Here are two case studies, illustrating the journeys asylum seekers have made and the ways that Brightwork has been able to assist them:

Abdi Mohammed, Somalia

Abdi originally came from the Bajuni Islands, off the coast of war-torn Somalia. Due to the political instability and the lack of stable government, he moved to Kenya and lived for years before coming to settle in the UK.

Brightwork helped Abdi from the moment he saw the vacancies bulletin. He told Kim Hill and her team of his interests and they set up an appointment for an interview.  Within a short time, he presented his papers and was given a job in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, formerly the Southern General, in Glasgow.

Abdi said: "The staff at Brightwork are straightforward. If the candidate has the credentials, he will get the job when it is available. For me, Brightwork is different from many agencies I worked with.

"Kim, in particular, works in a friendly and polite manner, so you have no worries at any time when you have difficulties to tell her. Especially with regard to time flexibility and job choices."

Abdi added: "I definitely have a better and safer life in the UK now."

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Peter Kimani, Burundi

Peter used to live in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, on the north east shores of Lake Tanganyka, until the civil war which raged through the African country became too much to bear.

He said: "It was a terrible conflict, and that was why I became a refugee, though it has settled down a bit now."

Peter, 37, also met Kim when he presented himself at Brightwork. He said: "She did everything she could to help me get into work. I did not have a lot of experience and she helped me become the sort of person who was employable.

"Kim placed me in good positions and found out what I had to do so that I could present myself properly when I turned up for work. It is an agency where you feel that you are being looked after."

Peter has now undertaken a variety of posts, from working as a domestic in the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, to caretaker and security roles. He is now studying full-time for a qualification in computer science at Strathclyde University, and working part-time.

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Brightwork Group business development director Shan Saba said: "Our teams are delighted to be able to match hard working people, wherever they come from, with employers who are glad of their commitment and enthusiasm.

"Many people who have been granted asylum and the right to work in the UK are in the difficult stages of building new lives for themselves and we, as a group, will continue to do everything we can to help them.

"The situation has a certain personal resonance for me, since my own parents came to Glasgow as doctors in the seventies, and created careers for themselves in the country which I now call home."

The Brightwork Group was established by recruitment veterans Charles Turner and Anthony Knight in 2006. Since then it has established itself in drinks and industrial recruiting, supplying thousands of workers every year to household name Scottish enterprises.

It has also built up a thriving specialist recruitment arm, BWSR, focusing on the professional, technical and managerial sectors. Its Quality Link Recruitment (QLR), the respected Scottish staffing and event management service, supplies the catering and hospitality sectors.

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