Works Better helps Asylum seeker tackle barriers into work
An asylum seeker from Cameroon has secured a job in Halifax thanks to the support from Works Better.
Anicet Fopa, 30, fled Cameroon to escape conflict but despite being a qualified and experienced IT Network Engineer and web designer, he struggled to find work in the UK.
That was until Together Housing Group stepped in and referred him to Newground, a member of Together Housing and a partner for Works Better employment programme to support him to tackle barriers.
Anicet said: “Some important people in the government were out to get me so after hiding in a village in Cameroon for three months I escaped to Nigeria but it was just as risky there so after eight months I fled to the UK.
“More than a year had passed between leaving Cameroon and being granted asylum in the UK so my CV had a gap on it, which was a concern for potential employers. My professional certifications had also expired because you need to renew them by taking exams every couple of years but taking an exam was the least of my concerns when I was fleeing the conflict. The other problem I had was that I had never had an official interview because in Cameroon I secured jobs through word of mouth so my first interview in the UK was a disaster.”
Anicet’s housing officer at Together Housing put him in touch with Works Better who not only gave him mock interviews but also lined up some work experience to boost his CV. While on placement at Calderdale Council’s IT department, Anicet’s colleagues spotted his potential and he was offered a full-time position.
Anicet enjoyed his time with the council, building up a good rapport with colleagues and growing in skills. After six months Anicet started to look at the wider job market again as he wanted to develop his skills even further.
He applied for various roles and was successful when applying for a IT Network manager’s role with Calderdale College. Anicet is thrilled with his new job and says that it represents his skills, knowledge and expertise within his profession.
Anicet added: “I knew my potential but I struggled to get a job in my field of expertise so I started to lose confidence. It was extremely stressful. I was in a place where I could have easily given up as I was lost and tired. I am so grateful to the team at Works Better who have helped me get where I am today.”
Works Better is part funded through the European Social Fund and delivered through a collaboration of six partners (Kirklees Council, Fusion Housing and Paddock Community Trust, Calderdale Council, Newground, Wakefield Council and Groundwork) across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.