Kibreab Kidane, Accountant & Auditor

  • Current Employer: Auditor for Credit Unit
  • Origin: Eritrea

What's your professional background?

I have 20 years’ senior experience in Eritrea as an Accountancy Manager and Auditor, including working for the British Council in Asmara, Eritrea as their senior Accountant for 5 years, from 2004-2009. The British Council paid for my UK MSc in Audit. I had to claim asylum from Eritrea in 2009 because of political persecution.

How is your career going now?

I have just accepted an internal audit job offer from a credit union, following an audit internship, through the Transitions recruitment agency.

What were the issues keeping you out of work?

  • I had no assistance, in fact I had constant pressure from Jobcentre Plus to find any job – with no UK work references and not knowing about the way that UK employers recruit. I wasn’t getting any interviews and didn't really know where to start.
  • I was expected to restart my career as soon as possible with no integration support from any statutory bodies. Employers don’t know what refugee status is, and don’t value my overseas experience.
  • I was very traumatised, being forced to claim asylum because of persecution and here without my family. Finding a place to live, trying to reunite my family and the stress of trying to find a job with no help in a strange country is not easy.

What things made a difference?

I found Transitions through a friend. Transitions listened to me professionally, and found me an audit internship in a credit union. Transitions set up the structure of the internship and monitored it carefully.

Transitions provided me with extensive, relevant 1-1 accountancy careers information and advice and brokered the consultancy that I now have with the credit union.

They invited me also to a range of targeted workshops. I was a guest speaker at a Transitions conference, talking about my experience as a refugee professional looking for work in the UK to employers and to Jobcentre Plus colleagues. That gave me confidence and a voice in the market.

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