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Skills passport to fast-track refugees into work in Europe

18 April 20181 comment

The way refugees are integrated into host societies may fundamentally change following the launch of a new program in Europe which aims to better assess refugees’ skills.

 ‘The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees’ will assess refugees’ education level, work experience and language proficiency in absence of full documentation, helping to fast-track them into work that is commensurate with their skills.

Launched by the Council of Europe on 28 March, the project follows a successful pilot project in 2017 which was supported by the United Nation’s refugee agency in Greece.

“This project can really have an impact on the way current and future refugee crises are met in host societies” said Sjur Bergan, Head of the Education Department of the Council of Europe.

The new phase will involve the original partners from Greece, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom, whilst also involving new partners in Armenia, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The assessment can be used by higher education institutes, public authorities and employers to better assess refugees’ skills and help them to access the job market or be admitted to further studies in their host country.

The project will also enable the use of the assessment beyond the refugees’ host country should they move to another country in Europe.

In Australia, refugees with a professional or trade skill are being supported to gain formal recognition of their skills or qualifications through initiatives such as the Career Pathway Pilot (CPP).

As a government-funded service, it helps refugee participants learn how to obtain recognition of qualifications gained overseas and how to follow a career pathway in Australia.

Working one-on-one with a Career Pathway Advisor, they are supported to achieve their career goals by undertaking further study or gaining work experience.

Refugee settlement agency AMES Australia is delivering the pilot in Melbourne between March, 2017, and June, 2019.

Manager Teresita Romero said the pilot is helping to recognise the value of the skills and experiences refugees bring to Australia.

“Through this important initiative we have supported 27 refugees to gain formal recognition of their skills with the Overseas Qualifications Unit,” Ms Romero said.

“Our counsellors continue to support them to ensure they find satisfying work in their profession or work in jobs that matches their overseas skills and qualification,” she said.





Carissa Gilham
AMES Australia Research Officer