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1,000 Ukrainian Refugees Attend London Jobs Fair

Friday 2 June 2023

1,000 Ukrainian refugees from different walks of life attended a jobs fair organised by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 31 May at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in central London.

Over 40 employers ranging from hospitality, tourism to entertainment and education were present at the venue to make a difference to Ukrainian lives – thanks to the additional support of the Clermont Hotel Group and The Tent Partnership for Refugees.

The fair presented extensive opportunities not just for employment but giving support by organising workshops, aiding digital skills, language training to providing information and knowledge on the recruitment process.

The jobseekers who were skilled in a variety of industries such as accounting and finance, public relations, marketing to teaching and medical assessment attended the fair with the hope of taking good news back home to their families.

The jobs fair was opened with an inspirational speech from the Deputy Mayor of London for Business Rajesh Agrawal.

©LCCI/BAFTA team speaking to a job speaker. May 31, 2023

One of the jobseekers , Nataliia Polizhak from Sevastopol in Ukraine had to endure a long journey from Ukraine via Russia and Belarus to reach a safe place in the UK. She arrived in London in March this year and has been struggling to find a job since then. A mother of a 14-year-old boy and a daughter aged 22-years-old, she attended the jobs fair with the hope of finding a job in the NHS due to her specialisation as a breastfeeding consultant.

Despite having a qualification in teaching and prior work experience as a Chemistry and Biology teacher in Ukraine, she struggled to find a job in the UK. One of the barriers she recognised was her proficiency in English. “Communications has always been my strength in Ukraine however, the same skill is now my weakness in the UK.” She looked forward to connecting with employers to improve her English language skills and begin a new life in the UK.

©LCCI/ Nataliia Polizhak from Sevastopol, Ukraine, one of the jobseekers at the career fair. May 31, 2023

Ukraine Project Manager at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Igor Bartkiv said,

“I, as a Ukrainian working with the London Chamber of Commerce felt grateful to be able to help my fellow citizens, providing a platform for all Ukrainian nationals to rebuild their lives in London. Through a powerful network of employers, London Chamber and the Department for Work and Pensions is committed to strengthening its support for job seekers. The London Chamber is also extending support for SMEs and business-to-business partnerships between the UK and Ukraine.”

Omobola Odutayo MBE, Recruitment & Events Coordinator for the DWP added:

“This jobs fair in Westminster was a fantastic success and gave attendees looking for work the chance to speak to prospective employers in person, with many landing job offers there and then. It’s important that everyone has the chance to find a good job and stay in long term employment.”

31-year-old Kateryna, another jobseeker at the fair arrived from Kyiv last year in May but has not been able to secure a job since then. She is currently studying at Hays college to improve her English so that she could later apply for professional roles such as marketing.

A 56-year-old job seeker from Ukraine, Alena, came to the fair with 23-years of experience as an accountant. She was looking for a job in a similar role and was polishing her language skills to compete in a tight labour market. “I thank the UK government for helping and supporting Ukrainians during such terrible times. I received valuable information through the employers and I look forward to applying to these roles.”

©LCCI/Alena, 56-year-old accountant from Ukraine at the Royal Horseguards Hotel.

Olena and Alex who arrived in Lewisham from Ukraine six months ago appreciated the opportunity to speak to employers at the fair. This helped them gain an understanding of what they were looking for. They were happy to meet other Ukrainians and share similar experiences of starting life afresh in London and finding employment opportunities.

NHS, Marks & Spencer, Mackintosh Theatres, Lewisham Hospitality Club, Tik Tok Academy, British Petroleum, Digital Edge Microsoft, Facework, Clermont Hotel Group, Hilton Hotels, Cairn and Intercontinental Group, LSBU Green Skills Hub were a few employers present at the fair.

A report published by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) – in partnership with the Refugee Investment Network – revealed that only 3% of London businesses employed a refugee in their organisation. LCCI’s survey revealed that London businesses are capable of stepping up to the job of employing refugees if given the right support and resources when it comes to assistance with recruitment process, social and cultural integration as well as mental health support.

LCCI continues to support Ukrainian refugees who are in London looking for work or who are interested in setting up their own business.

Notes To Editors:

  • You can access the photo gallery from the fair. All photos are credited to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • LCCI, DWP, The Clermont Hotel Group, The Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), OPORA Charity and The GLA all collaborated to organise the fair. We also had support from Network UA and Ukrainian Social Club Richmond.
  • Read LCCI’s Refugee Employment Report
  • In January this year, LCCI signed a landmark agreement with the Ukrainian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The new agreement aims to build the economic relationships that will help London and the UK play a major role in driving the eventual and all-important reconstruction of Ukraine.
  • Read how LCCI is supporting Ukraine.