A consortium of business leaders from across the North have joined forces to provide employment opportunities and support to Ukrainians impacted by the invasion of their country.
United For Ukraine is a coalition brought together at the request of leaders from across the North, including the Northern Powerhouse Partnership with support from the NP11 group of Local Enterprise Partnerships which includes HEY LEP. The initiative is focused around a digital platform www.unitedforukraine.org.uk which connects employers with evacuees.
For Ukrainian nationals, and other refugees who are eligible, the United For Ukraine website provides a searchable list of job vacancies with employers who have committed to providing good job opportunities in a supportive environment.
For employers, the free-to-use site provides an easy and direct way to communicate job opportunities and access the right support, to employ those coming here who wish to, and are able to, work. Vacancies listed on the site will adhere to criteria such as the offer at least a real living wage, and disclosable salaries, to ensure the opportunities on offer are quality jobs.
The site – which is accessible in both English and Ukrainian – also provides signposting to support services and referral agencies for Ukrainian refugees, such as free English language courses and how to open a bank account, as well as services providing advice on issues including housing, work permits and childcare.
It follows the news that the UK Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has seen more than 100,000 people sign up to provide Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country with accommodation. Those refugees who enter under the scheme will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years, during which time they will be able to work and access benefits and public services – including healthcare and state schooling.
Organisations involved in the creation of United For Ukraine include KPMG, PWC, Creative Concern, DWF Law, EY, Cirrus Connect, Bruntwood, Siemens, Northern Power Women, Net Zero North West and Agent.
Mike Wilton, Director at Arup, and the North West Business Leadership Team Board Member who has chaired the coalition, said:
“Now is the time for us to work together to do all we can to support these refugees who are fleeing the conflict with Russia. I’m incredibly proud of everyone who has joined forces to make this happen, on an entirely voluntary basis, using their own time and resources to do the right thing.
“Not only is this incredibly important to support Ukrainian nationals, but it’s also hugely beneficial for our region. We know that many skills gaps exist in the North, and we have an unprecedented level of unfilled vacancies, so this will help us to bridge those gaps – there are so many reasons for us to get behind this initiative.”
Professor Juergen Maier CBE, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:
“It’s wonderful to see the northern business community coming together to provide employment opportunities for refugees.
“We want to send a message to those fleeing the appalling situation in their home country that they are very welcome here and that we are ready to support them however we can.”
James Newman OBE, HEY LEP Chair, said:
“We warmly welcome this initiative which will bring together the Ukrainian evacuees coming to the Hull and East Yorkshire region with local employers looking to recruit. Through our Growth Hub and other networks we will ensure that employers can advertise their vacancies in the most efficient and visible way for the Ukrainian people to access. This initiative complements the work of our local authorities in ensuring that the Hull and East Yorkshire region is a welcoming place for the Ukrainian people to live and work in”.
To find out more and to support the initiative, visit www.unitedforukraine.org.uk.