Argyll and Bute Council’s work in supporting refugees into employment has won a prestigious award at the 2019 COSLA Excellence Awards.
The ‘Supporting our Refugees into Work’ programme landed COSLA’s ‘ Excellent People, Excellent Outcomes Award’ at last night’s (Thursday) ceremony in St Andrew’s.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “Excellent work has been and continues to be done on this project, which extends on the welcome given to our Syrian families by the community of Bute. The men, women and children who have been welcomed into our community have fled trauma that we can only imagine, and the council is determined to help them build safe, secure lives in Argyll and Bute, with steady employment being an important part of that process.”
The council works with partner organisations on the ‘Supporting our Refugees into Work’ strategy, which sets out to support refugee families with integration. Moving into meaningful employment is seen as a key part of the integration process.
Supporting the move from benefits to financial independence results in improvements in health and wellbeing.
Supported by the strategy, more than 80% of the adults have either started their own business, successfully applied for jobs, are studying at college or university, or are volunteering and undertaking work experience.
Helmi’s Bakery, one of the Syrian-owned businesses successfully launched on Bute, won regional silver and bronze awards at the 2019 Scottish Baker of the Year competition.
Cleland Sneddon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “As I said when we were shortlisted for this award, we couldn’t have achieved this recognition without the unstinting support of the community of Bute. I congratulate the community and the project team for their outstanding work.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Bute resident Rasha Rasho outside her place of work on the island