A Government-funded programme that supports migrants in the International Protection System who have been granted the right to work, has just celebrated its recent successes at an event in Galway on June 17th.
The celebration was attended by participants, local employers, Cllr. Terry O’Flaherty and Cllr. Alan Cheevers, and Daragh Solan from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).
Almost 20% of Galway city’s population described itself as non-Irish in an atlas of socio-economic trends published by the City Development Board. When the results of the 2022 census are published, it is predicted that the county’s population will have grown past 100,000 people with an even higher percentage of people identifying as non-Irish.
The Welcome to Work Programme increases participants’ ability to find employment or access further training, by helping them with language training, social skills and close mentoring. This programme is delivered by Seetec, an employee-owned public services provider. Seetec has managed to deliver and grow this programme despite the many challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, amidst the public health restrictions, the level of referrals to the programme from community partners had dropped significantly, but demand has since steadily increased as the economy has reopened.
Additionally, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has given Seetec permission to expand its programme and offer employability support to international migrants in neighbouring counties.
Commenting on the project expansion news, Barry Carberry, Seetec Galway Business Manager, said:
“Galway has a diverse population, but as we progressed with the project I was surprised and delighted to see how much of an impact this programme could have, and how much we could help people with practical tools and expert advice. It’s positively affected so many people’s journeys here.
“As the pandemic restrictions were lifted, our participant numbers increased dramatically. This shows there is a growing demand for services like these for new migrants legally resident in Ireland.”
Ayandiran Rotimi from Nigeria, who started a new care assistant job with Home Instead last week, commented: “My time on the programme was very good, it really helped me when I did the Home Instead training, they helped me with English and let me use the computers here, and I think if you have a passion for something this team or programme can help you achieve your goal.”
Mr Rotimi’s new employer, Suzanne Ryan, Managing Director of Home Instead also gave her thoughts on how beneficial this programme has been for her business: “Seetec has been great in onboarding new staff for us. When you have interested candidates with the background and the personality; the last thing you want is for them to face barriers in joining our team. The practical supports offered here are vital. We’re privileged to have found three new employees, especially during a time when there is a staffing crisis in the care sector.”
With the growing Ukrainian refugee crisis and the DCEDIY Regularisation Scheme for Long-Term Undocumented Migrants, Cllr. Alan Cheevers believes there will be an increased need for support.
Cllr. Alan Cheevers added: “There are over 42 different nationalities living in the areas I serve, Doughiska and Roscam. Some of the migrants living here are highly qualified and for whatever reason, they face difficulties accessing workplaces. The event on Friday was very informative for me and I’m hoping to host an outreach session in partnership with Seetec with the international communities in my local area. I believe this programme would benefit many new members of my community.”
Georgina Murphy, Seetec Operations and Supply Chain Director added: “Our program has grown in scope, and we have helped migrants from all over the world. We believe it has long-term potential and hope to be able to extend this voluntary participation initiative into the future so we can support all international migrants with valid work permits in Galway, and a growing number of other local communities, to navigate the Irish jobs market or access training.”
Daragh Solan from DCEDIY added: “On behalf of the DCDEIY, we are delighted to support Seetec’s ‘Welcome to Work’ project. It is great to hear the stories of so many people from the International Protection System finding work in Ireland. We are very grateful to the Seetec team for the valuable work they are doing.”