A pilot project, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), to formally recognise the skills and qualifications of migrants and refugees is to be expanded after securing £130,000 worth of Scottish Government funding.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today said the initiative, which has already helped 40 people from overseas, could help address Scotland's skills gap in key sectors such as social care, construction, engineering, IT and hospitality.
In a speech at the STUC’s Annual Congress in Dundee, she said lessons learned in the GCU-led pilot will be studied to see if the scheme can be rolled out across the country.
The First Minister said: “With all of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years projected to come from migration, we need to do all we can to ensure people who move to Scotland are able to realise their potential by accessing employment and addressing skills shortages and allowing them to build their lives and raise their families here.
“This project will help to address skills shortages across some of our key sectors and remove some of the barriers migrants and refugees face when it comes to recognising overseas qualifications, skills and learning, by providing training and matching them with employers.
“It is clear that a one size fits all approach to immigration is inappropriate for Scotland. We will continue to call for a tailored approach to migration that meets the needs of business and provides a welcoming environment for all those who wish to live and work in Scotland.”
The GCU-led skills hub is being delivered in partnership with the Bridges Programmes, Skills Development Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership, Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Scottish Refugee Council and Glasgow Clyde College.
It supports employers by helping migrants transfer training gained in other countries into UK-recognised qualifications.
An additional 40 migrants and refugees will be helped during 2019/20 thanks to the new funding.
Miura Lima, a qualified social worker from Portugal, who works in Glasgow as a social care assistant, said: "I have found it very challenging to get my skills and expertise recognised in Scotland.
"The project is helping me to get my skills recognised so I can work at the level I have been educated to and have experience in.
“It is so important to have this. I have been here for several years and I am really hard working and yet it is a complete struggle. Employers in Scotland need this project now and in the future.”
Dr Ima Jackson, the project lead at GCU, said: “People often think these types of projects are simply for the individual people who have come to Scotland with skills gained from outside of the UK – and of course on one level it is - but more importantly it is for Scotland as a whole.
"It will help Scottish businesses large and small bring into their own companies the skills they need to develop and grow."