GCU hosts launch of migrant and refugee skills recognition project

Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:00:00 BST

A pilot project, led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), to set up Scotland's first migrant and refugee skills recognition and accreditation hub, has been launched by Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP.

With six months remaining until the UK leaves the European Union, the Scottish Government is supporting the project which aims to put in place the right infrastructure to ensure people from overseas now living in Scotland can realise their full potential.

It is expected the hub, if successful, could help reduce the growing skills gap in sectors such as construction, engineering, health and social care. The pilot project will focus on Glasgow.

The project is being led by GCU 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.

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, said: “Access to employment is pivotal to the process of settlement and stability for migrants however too often people face multiple barriers to enter the labour market and even greater challenges entering at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.

“To address the challenges associated with the training and employment of minority and ethnic people and refugees, I am delighted that the Scottish Government is able to provide Glasgow Caledonian University with £158,207 for 2017-18 and 2018-19 to undertake this project.”

Glasgow Caledonian University senior lecturer and researcher Dr Ima Jackson is leading the project.

She said: “Scotland needs this because there is such a real shortage of skilled workers and migrant skills are being wasted. Employers are not easily able to access the skills people bring because there is no infrastructure where migrants can have their skills and qualifications recognised.

“We are taking an evidence-based approach to scope what we need for Scotland, looking at what is already going on across Europe in countries like Germany, Sweden and Denmark. By March 2019, the infrastructure will start to be put in place for the hub.”

Scottish Minister Jamie Hepburn was warmly welcomed to the University by GCU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor James Miller and Dr Jackson.

Professor Miller said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister for Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP, to launch the pilot of the migrant and refugee skills recognition and accreditation hub.

“We know from our interactions with individuals and community-based groups working with migrants and refugees that having their skills, knowledge and expertise recognised formally is one of the most difficult challenges they face.

“GCU is delighted to be playing a central role in the project as part of our community engagement plan. This dovetails well with the scholarships we offer and our sector-leading role in adopting an innovative and inclusive approach to recognition of prior learning. Yet another clear, practical example of being the University for the Common Good.”