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August 13, 2016

Transitions Seminar Reflective Blog Piece – Daniel Ashenafi

Daniel Ashenafi

Falling in the first week of my internship with Transitions, the seminar on recruitment service collaboration for social value was a helpful as well as an enlightening experience. Topics of discussion included the barriers faced by refugees seeking employment and the measures that social enterprises such as Transitions and major recruiters can take to remove these difficulties. It was argued by some, that the line between people making good use of their connections and unreasonable nepotism is for the most part not crossed. Nonetheless, this still means that some applicants have an advantage over others due to country of origin and/or socioeconomic class. The reality being that jobseekers from different cultures who lack established networks need to oftentimes far exceed role specifications to be successful in their applications – an experience that was powerfully shared by a refugee candidate at the seminar. The challenge for an organisation like Transitions is balancing this bias by providing candidates with a platform from which to form professional networks and the tools to give their applications the loudness of voice it deserves. As a child of parents that are Ethiopian migrants, it was sobering to hear about some of the early barriers that they may have faced in trying to find work fitting of their experience and qualifications. Moreover, as I now look for work in the graduate market, I cannot help but wonder how different my experience will be to that of my parents, but also if it would be even easier if I had roots spanning multiple generations here in the UK. Nevertheless, it has become clear to me that I have a privilege that many refugee jobseekers would envy, and I will most certainly not take that lightly.

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