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Syrian refugees in North Lanarkshire are being offered support by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help them integrate with their local communities. 

Working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council’s Community Learning and Development, SDS delivered careers information and guidance sessions at Airdrie’s Chapelside Community Centre.

SDS Careers Advisers Navid Siddique and Lorraine McDonald met with the group and an Arabic translator, who was able to help with questions and answers.

To help the Syrians, SDS provided Arabic versions of My World of Work leaflets for them to read and share with families and friends.

These guides to gaining employability skills include information on educational courses, CV writing and interview techniques.

The group are keen to get into employment. Many of the refugees had worked in skilled trades, while others were HGV drivers or owned their own businesses.

Navid said: “The people who came along were hungry for support and wanted to have the sense of purpose and worth that comes from employment and education. One refugee told us that they hadn’t known how much support was actually available.”

Lorraine said: “It was good to meet the refugees and let them know about the services we can offer. They are very willing to learn, so we will be working closely with them give them the support they need to gain access to work.”

Navid said: “They also want to gain more confidence to volunteer and access learning opportunities. We emphasised to all Syrian Refugee clients that we are here to work with them at their own pace.”

A priority for many of the refugees is to improve their English skills. SDS will support them by helping them finding college courses, voluntary work, paid training, creating CVs, applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.

"It was good to meet the refugees and let them know about the services we can offer. They are very willing to learn, so we will be working closely with them give them the support they need to gain access to work."

SDS will also refer people to partner agencies, including the Scottish Refugee Council, North Lanarkshire Council’s Supported Employment Service and Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire.

Councillor Pat O’Rourke, Chair of North Lanarkshire Council’s Syrian resettlement programme, said: “The Syrians who have moved to our area have settled in really well.

Together with other organisations such as Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, the NHS and voluntary groups, we’ve provided a full support programme to help them adjust to their new lives here in Scotland.

"They have made excellent progress learning English and our service has been recognised by the Home Office as an example of best practice across the UK.”

SDS is creating a resource pack which will highlight the support available to all refugees.

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