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Hannah Brooke: Dismantling barriers for refugees

Hannah Brooke is Employer Engagement Manager at Renaisi

The war in Ukraine has shone an international spotlight once again on the plight of refugees and shown the world that a refugee isn’t ‘who’ a person is, it’s something that ‘happens’ to people and it can happen to anyone.

The war in Ukraine is one of many conflicts that last year resulted in over 84 million people being forcibly displaced across the world. That’s roughly 1% of the world’s population forced to flee their homes due to war, violence, conflict, or persecution. This figure has nearly doubled compared to ten years ago and almost half of this group are children.

Renaisi offer employment services for refugees. Our aim is to create strong inclusive communities, and that includes a more inclusive labour market. Transitions is our specialist business service designed to restart the careers of refugee professionals by readying them for work in the UK. We help refugee professionals:

  • navigate the UK labour market;
  • develop a CV highlighting their experience and transferable skills;
  • understand UK interview techniques;
  • rebuild their confidence;
  • and develop professional networks by connecting them with a business mentor through our mentoring programme.

Candidates tell us our biggest value add is the ability to introduce candidates to employers directly, so they aren’t screened out or passed over in recruitment filtering. 

Sustainable work is essential for integration

Employment has been shown to be the biggest factor in successful refugee integration. It not only enables financial self-reliance but is a source of social interaction offering opportunities to improve language skills, understand local culture and regain confidence. We see employment as essential for anyone trying to build a better life for themselves and their family in the UK.

We develop collaborative relationships with employers to create inclusive employment pathways and dismantle barriers which result in refugee professionals facing long-term unemployment or working in low skilled jobs entirely unrelated to their qualifications, experience, and career ambitions. We offer a comprehensive service that not only enables employers to access untapped talent, plug skills gaps, build a more diverse workforce, and deliver social value, but all importantly we provide in work support to ensure our candidates realise their potential and thrive.

We have had many employers reaching out to us in response to the war in the Ukraine keen to offer jobs to refugees. The reality is that it can often take a while for people to be given the correct documentation to enable them to work in the UK and be signposted to organisations like Renaisi for employment support. For example, we only recently started working with resettled Afghans many of whom are still in hotels and face considerable uncertainty. The good news that it is within an employer’s gift to change this and support refugees, transform lives and deliver wider organisational and societal benefits.

What can you do to support refugees?

As an employer there are actions you can take to help people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution to restart safe and fulfilling careers when they settle in the UK:

  1. Partner with organisations like Renaisi to access refugee professionals and meet your talent needs
  2. Make your recruitment practices and workplaces more inclusive and welcoming for refugee talent – see our Inclusive Recruitment Checklist
  3. Join our inclusive recruitment learning community, launching in June, to share best practice and help us advocate and inspire other employers to open doors to refugee talent
  4. Sign up to TENT and BITC’s Opening Doors campaign
  5. Find out more how the RTPI are looking to help displaced planners through Planners Beyond Boundaries


To find out more please contact Hannah Brooke, Employer Engagement Manager at Renaisi on [email protected]

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