It’s not easy to find work when arriving in a country with little knowledge of the opportunities, or even the language, particularly if you’re a refugee or asylum seeker fleeing conflict or natural disaster. But many of the people who do arrive in the UK are multilingual and often highly educated, and have come here simply hoping for a better life than the one they left. That’s why Code Your Future launched in 2016, not only to help them get the skills for jobs in an in-demand sector, but also to help the UK address its digital skills challenges.
The organisation’s founder, German Bencci, explains: “In their journey of interrupted lives, unfinished studies and integration challenges, many asylum seekers and refugees yearn to update their tech skills, but lack learning opportunities. We want to change this.”
The organisation provides students with laptops and covers travel expenses, but it is now looking for commercial partners in Greater Manchester to help supply these learning resources, offer free workspace and give money to cover students’ transport costs.The first cohort based in London have already gone on to secure excellent jobs working at a variety of tech companies.
Here at Tech North we’ve been doing a bit of digging, and have found that Greater Manchester has one of the highest concentrations of asylum seekers in the country. In Rochdale, one in roughly every 200 hundred people is seeking asylum. Couple to that the transport links and excellent business opportunities, Manchester became the perfect place to continue the programme.
The visualisation below shows the spread of people seeking asylum across Greater Manchester, and the rest of England and Wales. Overall numbers have increased, and the numbers look set to increase based on the time-series visualisation.