- Businesses come together to offer a one stop shop for jobs for Ukrainian refugees.
- Leaders commit to welcoming and supporting all who are fleeing Ukraine.
- New platform provides employment and support opportunities.
A consortium of business leaders from across the North of England 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 and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), with support from the NP11 group of Local Enterprise Partnerships. The initiative is focused around a digital platform, created by the Growth Company, 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 ‘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 DWF, KPMG, PWC, Creative Concern, EY, Cirrus Connect, Bruntwood, Siemens, Northern Power Women, Net Zero North West and Agent.
Kirsty Rogers, Head of ESG at DWF and Managing Partner for its Manchester office, said:
"Businesses and individuals have been moved to take whatever steps they can to provide support for refugees of the war in Ukraine. Since the invasion began we have seen our colleagues respond in many ways, from our team in Warsaw providing direct support to refugees at the border to fundraising activities taking place in all of our offices around the world.
"We are hopeful that in working alongside other businesses in support of this initiative, offering good employment opportunities and a positive and welcoming environment to people who have been through so much, we can make the future easier for those people reaching our location. It is clearly the right thing for businesses to do."
Mike Wilton, Director at Arup, and NWBLT 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.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, added:
“Millions of Ukrainians have had their lives shattered by the brutal Russian invasion. It’s vital we do all we can to support those coming to this country fleeing the conflict.
“It’s hugely encouraging to see the northern business community come together in this way, offering employment opportunities for those who are able to work, as well as signposting to support for learning English and finding housing. We want to ensure people who are provided sanctuary in the North are able to settle and feel welcome.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“The scenes emerging from the Ukraine over the last month have been unbearable to watch at times. It would be difficult for many of us to imagine the sheer scale of chaos and confusion that has forced millions of innocent people to uproot their whole lives.
“However, as we have seen time and time again, it is often during a time of crisis that brings out the very best in people. In the Liverpool City Region, we have a long and proud history of standing up for the greater good. We’re pioneers of ethical, value-driven business and we want the companies we work with to have a social conscience, too.
“It’s fantastic to see so many businesses in our region, and across the North, working together to help provide job opportunities to people coming to our country. Despite an incredibly challenging time for families and businesses across the North, the outpouring of support and generosity shown by ordinary people has been truly inspiring. Our message to the people of Ukraine is clear: we’ll welcome you with open arms.”