Refugees in Peterborough have taken part in mock interviews to help them get into paid employment, thanks to the help of a charity.

Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association (PARCA), working with the Strategic Migration Partnership’s Wellbeing and Work for Refugees (WW4RI) project, hosted the event at the PARCA centre in Peterborough last month.

Thomas Wright, Refugee Employment Adviser and Skills Assessor at PARCA, said many refugees looking for work were not accustomed to the formal interviews we have in the UK.

“Job interviews can be very different in countries other than the UK, where they tend to be quite formal and are a large part of you getting the job you have applied for,” he said.

“If you take Ukraine, for example, often they don’t have the same type of formal interviews, you will submit a CV and an employer will base their decision more on that.

“They will go in for a chat but are not used to the formal interviews we do here.

“Questions like ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ that we are used to in an interview in the UK can catch them on the back foot so they don’t come across as capable as they really are.

“Through these mock interviews we can prepare them so employers can see their full potential.”

More than 25 refugees took part in the interviews, with many finding paid employment as a result.

The mock interviews were carried out by Stevenage-based Milestone Infrastructure.

“Since running the mock interviews, we have had some great feedback,” said Thomas.

“It was a great event.  We had people come in from the company and set up a station for each of them.  They then held the half hour job interviews.

“We held them in a big hall, but they were one-to-one interviews, as close to a real job interview as we could.

“We had a table with a chair each side and each interviewer had a sheet of questions for them.”