2 min read

The recent changes and situation in Afghanistan mean that those who supported the work of UN Forces found themselves in an extremely vulnerable position. As highlighted within the media, some of these are now residing in the UK. They bring with them a vast range of skills, experiences and qualifications that matches their desire to find meaningful employment, allowing them to make a positive contribution within their new home.

JobOppO have established a support package titled AfghanOppO, to work with The Sulha Alliance, who campaign for the rights of former Afghan Interpreters who have served with the British Military. The goal is to develop their employability skills, in particular their understanding of the UK employment market. Working with JobOppO and Ali Whelan Career Coach we were able to conduct a quick needs analysis and identified 4 key areas to base a series of online Zoom workshops around. These are. 

  • CV Building: Working through the layout of a CV, including what information is and isn’t required. We discuss when and how to include a cover letter. Importantly we also identify various ways to access IT equipment for writing a CV.
  • Job Searching: Although there are many well-known job searching sites and we promote the importance to access these, we also discuss ideas about how to proactively search for jobs in other less known places.
  • Interviews: There are many different types of interviews being used by companies and we look at all including the less common ones. We also discuss how to prepare for these and the questions that may be asked.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is now an important part of the job searching process. Having an up to date and accurate profile can help get people noticed and search for roles. We discuss setting up a profile and how to get the most from the resources available.

The first workshop was a huge success with one attendee securing an assistant manager role just one week later. This has led to a second session being delivered and more are planned over the coming months. The group are in numerous areas of the UK and bring with them a wide range of skills, experience and previous job roles including a medic, paediatric nutritionist, journalist, CEO, HR manager and an IT consultant, all valuable professions within the UK.

There are challenges to running the workshops, including ensuring security of identities and locations of participants and attendees having to attend other important UK settlement appointments at short notice. Whilst many don’t have access to a laptop/desktop, they have joined in via their phones or tablets, fully engaging in discussions and asking a lot of questions. It is also vital that those who attend the workshops also have access to ongoing employability support, ensuring that they have the skills and confidence to gain employment.

Stu Miller said “I’m proud to be involved with supporting a group who are not only deserving, but extremely grateful for the help they are receiving. They are determined to achieve independence whilst living in the UK and giving them the correct tools will allow them to do this”.

Garrath Williams, Director of Veteran Engagement and Development of JobOppO said "It is fantastic to be able to bring a group of AfghanOppOs together to learn a little more about the tools and techniques that will help them find a job in the UK. Thanks so much to Stu and Ali for volunteering their time and running such fantastic sessions".

Ali Whelan, of Ali Whelan Career Coaching said “Being part of this work, aiding this amazing group of AfghanOppOs to find work is fantastic. Such a skilled bunch of people, with so much to bring to our UK workforce, they are so engaged and attentive, asking key questions to understand how best to secure themselves job roles, it’s a joy to work with them and I thank JobOppo and SDM Training for this opportunity”.

Get involved Supporting AfghanOppO is an ongoing project that helps a group packed full of skills and experience to live independently within the UK. If you or your organisation would like to get involved in any way, then email to stuart.miller@sdmtraining.co.uk or call 07437 619234.

For more information or to view our services visit www.sdmtraining.co.uk.

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