FAIR & EQUAL

We want to create a positive social impact wherever we are

At IKEA, we are committed to providing decent work and fair working conditions.IKEA is an inclusive business, committed to providing decent work and fair working conditions.We are committed to providing decent work across our value chain, and at IKEA, we also promote equality.
We want to play our part in creating a better life for the people and communities touched by our business. That’s why we are committed to providing and supporting decent and meaningful work across our value chain, being an inclusive business and promoting equality.
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By 2030 our ambition is to inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live a better everyday life within the limits of the planet
Human rights
Nobody’s equal till everybody’s equal
Human Rights are for everyone, everyday. So our vision of “creating a better everyday life for the many people” embraces co-workers, customers, suppliers and their local communities. And not just when we’re in the spotlight either, it’s a 365 day a year commitment. Our co-workers can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities, whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age. Because a level playing field brings out the best in all of us, men and women alike. And it has to be level everyday, not just when it’s convenient.
Respect for human rights, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is part of everything we do and is included in our supplier code of conduct, called the IWAY Standard.
Download the IWAY Standard (PDF)
Three IKEA co-workers in a room setting consisting of two orange desks with chairs, a white chest of drawers and open wall shelves.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
There are over 200 million international migrants across the world, with over 100 million of them working. Some leave home and succeed in finding better work and improving their quality of life. But for others, the promise of a better future can result in large debts from recruitment fees and – in the worst cases – bonded labour. At IKEA we set clear standards for the recruitment and employment of workers through IWAY, our code of conduct. Under no circumstances do we tolerate forced labour or human trafficking. We also expect our suppliers to treat migrant workers fairly and to offer transparent employment terms and good working and living conditions.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
Working together to drive change
In some countries recruitment practices are complex and involve many different organisations, so it’s important also to work with others.IKEA has joined forces with four other companies – HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever – to drive positive change in the way that migrant workers are recruited. The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment will advocate for the ‘Employer Pays Principle’, which calls for all recruitment fees to be paid by the employer, not the worker.
To support our suppliers in dealing with the challenges of responsible recruitment, we are also partnering directly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In South East Asia we have already worked together to successfully map the recruitment process from suppliers back to the workers’ home countries. We will use the findings to further support the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and to work towards creating lasting change.
Learn more about the International Organization for Migration
An Indian girl in school
We believe in protecting children
We do everything we can to act in the best interests of children and protect children’s rights. We do this through advocacy, raising awareness and supporting children in vulnerable communities.
Our commitment to children runs deep
When it comes to our products and stores, we try to think from a child’s perspective. We want our products to aid their development and for our stores to become play areas, just as if they were at home. We work with experts on children’s development, to learn and understand their needs during different stages of development.
A clear ban on child labour
We believe that children have the right to be protected from exploitation, abuse and neglect. This is why child labour is unacceptable to IKEA and why we work actively to prevent and eliminate it. Our child labour code of conduct, introduced in 2000, was developed in close co-operation with Save the Children and with advice from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
Creating long-term solutions
Preventing and eliminating child labour is a big challenge, which can only be tackled by addressing the root causes with a holistic approach. That’s why the IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF and Save the Children child rights programs in 25,000 villages in a number of states in India and Pakistan; reaching a total of 15 million children by the end of 2017. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information
SUPPLIERS
Building good relationships
We want everyone to feel good about the products we sell, which is why we put a lot of work into our supplier relationships – and those relationships that reach beyond ours. There are about 600,000 people working for companies that directly supply IKEA around the world, and we want to be sure they are all treated fairly.
That’s why in 2000 we launched IWAY, our supplier code of conduct. Our suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers and we are supporting them to do this. All home furnishing suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
What is the IWAY Standard?
Our supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies our minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
We visit our suppliers regularly to check that they are following the IWAY Standard. Around 80 IKEA auditors, as well as independent third party auditors make both announced and unannounced checks at suppliers and their sub-suppliers.
IWAY Standards are clearly posted on a supplier factory wall
The IWAY Standard requirements include:
- No child labour
- No forced or bonded labour
- No discrimination
- Freedom of association
- At least minimum wages and overtime compensation
- A safe and healthy work environment, preventing pollution to air, ground and water and work to reduce energy consumption. Download the IWAY Standard PDF
Not just your ordinary rug
The TÅNUM rag rug is a great example of how we can bring together two of our core passions – reducing waste and creating a better everyday life. TÅNUM is made from leftover materials from the production of our fabric and quilt covers, and thereby no two rugs are alike. It’s also the kind of staple piece that has been around in Swedish homes for about 150 years.
The idea for the design came from young Finnish design student, Erik Bertell, who wanted to reinvent the rug in a more modern way. But, some great ideas don’t just stop there; they go a step further. Not only is the production of TÅNUM responsibly turning waste into a resource; skilled craftswomen in Bangladesh weave them. This provides the women with jobs, and a stable income. Watch the video for the full story about TÅNUM rug.
Behind the scenes: Handmade rugs [PDF]
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Community-led education about growing Better Cotton
Working with WWF to improve cotton farmers’ lives
IKEA and WWF have worked successfully together on cotton farming issues for over a decade. As a result, an estimated 110,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey have started growing cotton in a more sustainable way. By using less chemical fertilizers and more natural alternatives to chemical pesticides, small-hold farmers can cut their costs while crops remain as good as before. The money they save might be used to invest in water-saving drip irrigation or perhaps in education for their children.

Learn more about our partnership on cotton (PDF)
IKEA View: Cotton (PDF)
BEACON PROJECT
Helping young Australians choose positive pathways
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many but this vision goes beyond home furnishing, we want to create a better every day for all people impacted by our business.

IKEA Marsden Park, which opened in April 2015 and employs more than 300 co-workers, is committed to this same vision and adding value to the local community in a range of positive ways.

With a strong focus on career and learning possibilities within IKEA, co-workers are actively encouraged to experience different roles within the business and many change between functions and countries several times in their careers.

Career roles within IKEA include Customer Relations, IT, Marketing, Human Resources, Restaurant (IKEA FOOD), Purchasing, Finance and Business, Logistics, Sales, Design and Product Development, Communication and Interior Design and Sustainability.

The opening of the new IKEA store in the Sydney Business Park at Marsden Park, created an opportunity to enter into a partnership with The Beacon Foundation as a way for IKEA Marsden Park to engage with the young people in their local community.

Store Manager, IKEA Marsden Park said the business is highly committed both to the local community and in making a positive impact on young people locally.

“We are here for the long-term, and plan to be good neighbours and partners in the community. We aim to employ local people for local jobs, so partnering with local schools to support with skills development and education is the right thing to do.

“It provides young people in our local community with the opportunity to acquire the required skills and knowledge before entering the workforce within a supportive environment.”

“We value the opportunity to support young people in learning new skills to help them confidently transition from school into the workforce.

“The Beacon Foundation provides us with a thorough understanding of the challenges in the local area for disadvantaged youth and introduces us to local schools, allowing us to establish ongoing relationships”.

IKEA co-workers volunteering
A BETTER EVERYDAY LIFE
Community volunteer support
At IKEA we strive to be a good neighbour by helping create a better everyday life for the people and communities where we operate.

We believe we have some of the most committed, talented and creative people working for us. Every one of our permanent co-workers has access to one day of volunteer leave to work in the local community each year.

Do you have an opportunity for a team of IKEA co-workers in your charity or local community group?
IKEA Community Volunteer requirements
• We are looking for non-profit organisations local to our stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane whose primary focus is either the support and development of children, providing housing and shelter for people in need, or responding to Australian environmental issues such as floods, bushfires and cyclones.
• We require that you hold current Public Liability insurance.
• That the activity is safe and supervised for the full duration by a representative from your organisation.
• That the activity is held onsite at your location which is local/close to our stores to allow ease of access for our co-workers.
• Does not involve unsupervised contact with children, or require any ‘working with children’ certification.
• We cannot guarantee the minimum number of co-workers requested, as volunteering is not mandatory. We require at least one months notice before the activity.
IKEA co-workers volunteering
If you have a volunteer activity simply complete a Volunteer Support Request and email to volunteersupport@IKEA.com
Before submitting a request please note we are unable to support:
• For-profit organisations
• Direct fundraising (tin shaking/ribbon sales)
• Sports teams, leagues or sponsoring sporting, art or entertainment events
• Individual requests that benefit one person
• Organisations that are not open to all members of the community
• Organisations with a political or religious affiliation
IKEA Volunteer
FAIR & EQUAL: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
IKEA Social Entrepreneurs –
Co-creating change
Social entrepreneurs are in the business of making everyday life better in their communities. They use business as a way to tackle social and environmental challenges, such as reducing poverty and empowering women.
Started in 2012, IKEA now has several ongoing partnerships with social entrepreneurs, employing local artisans in vulnerable communities around the world. The social enterprises we partner with are mainly self help groups and women owned cooperatives. Making a decent livelihood helps them gain respect and create a better future for their families.
Together, we co-create unique products, using traditional handicraft methods and materials – limited edition collections available at IKEA stores in selected countries.
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TILLTALANDE – designed to create jobs
Tahani Al Khatib, artisan from Palestine collaborated with IKEA and Jordan River Foundation in creating the collection TILLTALANDE.
Tahani Al Khatib, artisan from Palestine working for IKEA and Jordan River Foundation
On June 20th 2018, World Refugee Day honours the courage, strength and resilience of the over 65 million people who have been forced to flee their homes from war or persecution.
As a response to the refugee crisis IKEA decided to try to make a difference the way we know best – by doing business and creating jobs. And that is exactly what TILLTALANDE does. It is a collection of precious, handcrafted textiles, designed to create integration through jobs. By employing Jordanian locals alongside refugee woman we also support the integration between the two groups of women artisans.
Made in collaboration with Jordan River Foundation, it’s an initiative sprung from the urgent need to get people into work and into society. Today more than 100 artisans are part of the initiative, a number that will double during 2019 and that is expected to reach 400 by the end of 2020.
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TILLTALANDE launches on June 20th in Sweden (Stockholm store) and the US (Brooklyn store).
See TILLTALANDE collection
Good ethics is good business
Open Arms is a social entrepreneur in Texas that offers refugee women employment. Thang Zuali turns leftover IKEA fabric into new products.
We want to create opportunities for refugees to rebuild their lives – internationally, but also locally. Open Arms in Austin, Texas started as a small, local initiative that only worked with one IKEA store. The ambition was to empower refugee women through fair-wage employment, consisting of turning leftover IKEA fabric into new products.
Today, Open Arms has become a successful enterprise, going from 2,000 products per year, to 20,000. The programme in Austin has become a model for IKEA. Nearly 20 stores are now working with upcycled collections, and more than 100 stores carry larger, international collections co-created with social entrepreneurs. They are all driven by the same ethical values and objectives – to make it possible for refugee women to stand on their own, to integrate and provide for themselves and their families.
Yalla Trappan is a social initiative providing sewing service in the IKEA Malmö store, Sweden. Neire Kerimovska and Karin Wingren talk about a cushion cover.
Thang Zuali is one of six Burmese refugees that fled the unrest of Burma (aka Myanmar) for a new life in the United States. “Before, we barely had money to buy clothes,” says Thang, “now we can buy things and live like normal people.”
Yalla Trappan is a local initiative providing sewing service in the IKEA Malmö store, Sweden. Neire Kerimovska and Karin Wingren, Customer Relations manager, are talking about cushion covers ordered by a customer.
“It’s not a charity. By working with local social entrepreneurs, we are contributing to new livelihoods while offering our customers unique handicrafts. It’s business for good, for everyone.”
Vaishali Misra, Business Leader for social entrepreneur initiatives at IKEA of Sweden.
PÅTÅR special edition
PÅTÅR special edition is a single-origin high-quality 100% Arabica coffee from the White Nile region in Uganda, and a result of our cooperation with thousands of small scale farmers.
Introducing a single-origin high-quality 100% Arabica coffee from Uganda
Uganda is the biggest coffee exporting country in Africa, yet the average size of a coffee farm is less than 0,25 hectares – just a quarter the size of a football field. It’s not easy to run a profitable farm with such small resources. To help support economic independence of farmers, as well as more sustainable farming practices, IKEA has teamed up with a regional coffee project. As a result, we’re now introducing our first ever single-origin coffee to the IKEA Swedish Food Market: 100% Arabica beans from the White Nile region. A special coffee with a unique taste, created in cooperation with thousands of small scale farmers.
Good coffee with an even greater aftertaste
An Ugandan woman, broadly smiling, who’s involved in the White Nile project.
At IKEA, we’re always looking for social entrepreneurs or business models that share our vision. The White Nile project is one such initiative, and one where we see an opportunity for a long term partnership contributing to a positive development. The project started out almost 20 years ago, in an attempt to promote the cultivation of high quality Arabica coffee in a region traditionally known as the producer of less favored beans. By supporting the initiative, IKEA contributes to the economic empowerment of farmers and their families. We’re happy to be the first global retailer to make single-origin coffee from the White Nile region broadly available.
 Ugandan farmers get advice and education as part of the White Nile project.
We believe in the importance of inclusion of women and youth to support sustainable livelihoods. The White Nile project encourages a more equal share of responsibilities in both farmers’ businesses and family households as well as shared access to resources to increase women’s independence. But it’s also about seeing the everyday life challenges, for example that access to water directly at the coffee processing site minimizes the need for long and sometimes risky walks to fetch it elsewhere. Through addressing these and many more issues, coffee farming in the White Nile region will hopefully be an attractive business for generations to come.
Freshly picked coffee cherries in the palm of a hand.
The start of a long-lasting partnership
By making a long-term commitment to the White Nile farmers growing Arabica beans, we’re entering a partnership where everyone’s a winner. The special PÅTÅR coffee isn’t a charity project – it’s a business opportunity. Together with our supplier and through our IKEA stores, the farmers get to sell their product and we gain a high-quality, tasty coffee.
However, since there isn’t yet enough Arabica coming from the White Nile region to allow sales in all IKEA stores worldwide, this special edition is sold in a number of selected countries only. As the coffee crop grows, we hope to increase that number.
PÅTÅR special edition is a high-quality fresh and fruity medium roast with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel.
An image of a person walking on a path in the Ugandan countryside.
Your coffee break makes a difference
Just like all other members of the PÅTÅR family, the Ugandan special edition is UTZ certified and organic according to EU standards. In short that means higher yields, better incomes and better living conditions for farmers, as well as protection of the environment and natural resources such as water, soil and air.
As a customer, you can check the origin of your coffee, and learn more about the plantations where the beans were grown, via the online tracer, utz.org/IKEA
Representatives from IKEA meeting local artisans.
Building partnerships with social entrepreneurs
We want to build lasting relationships with our partners and support their development, that’s why we work together to share knowledge about design, production, environmental management, export and more. Through us, the social entrepreneurs can access a global marketplace, giving them a strong foundation for self-sufficiency and independence.
Since all the products are handcrafted – or originate from small-scale farming – and the entreprises have access to limited resources, the production is also limited. That’s why we can offer the collections to selected countries only. Through our collaboration with social entrepreneurs, we want to support positive economic and social development across the world – long-term sustainable change in a way that charity by itself can’t.
A map showing the countries where IKEA are working with social entrepreneurs.
“They learn the skills and acquire the resources
to bring about a lasting change in their lives.
And they’re not dependent on charity.”
Sumita Ghose, Founder and Managing Director, Rangsutra
We are currently working with social entrepreneurs in India, Thailand, Uganda, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Croatia, Romania, Jordan, USA and Canada. We are actively looking for new partners around the world.
Hear the inspiring stories of two Indian women
– a social entrepreneur and an artisan – working in partnership with IKEA.
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FAIR & EQUAL: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | IKEA FOUNDATION | GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGN
IKEA FOUNDATION
Improving opportunities for children
No matter what the circumstances, every child deserves a placeto call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income. The IKEA Foundation supports programmes run by well-regarded organisations – like UNICEF and the Clinton Health Access Initiative – to help children and youth living in the world’s poorest communities so they can create a better future for themselves and their families. The Foundation’s currently funded programmes will benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.
Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more info
Two children at a refugee camp
The IKEA Foundation donates tens of millions of euros to charity each year through funds set aside from IKEA profits.
4 ways the IKEA foundation helps children
A young girl in school
Empowering women and girls
By empowering women – through education, skills training, improved healthcare, or providing a loan to set up a small business – we can improve children’s health, education and future opportunities. opportunities. The IKEA Foundation funds programmes to empower and educate women, giving them a better chance to provide for themselves and their families. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about their empowerment programmes
A young boy at a refugee camp
A better life for refugee children
Every year millions of children are forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters and conflicts. The IKEA Foundation is supporting the UN’s Refugee Agency with €76 million to provide shelter, care and education to refugee families in Ethiopia, Sudan and Bangladesh. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to find out how they are building safe places for refugee families to call home
Young children that are not in school are the most vulnerable
Preventing child labour
Since 2000, we have donated €80 million to UNICEF and Save the Children to fight the root causes of child labour in India and Pakistan. Our programmes have already helped 12 million children have access to better schools and better protection from having to work, and we're extending them to reach many millions more. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information on how they are working towards preventing child labour
Young child sitting on his mother's lap while a female doctor listens to his heart
Emergency response
All children should have the right to learn and play. But when natural disasters and conflicts turn their lives upside down, they lose the chance to simply be a child. That’s why the IKEA Foundation provides financial support and donates IKEA products for emergency relief efforts to humanitarian partners like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about the emergency response programmes
IKEA FOUNDATION | GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGN | refugees
GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGNS
Join the play movement!
Play is a universal language that unites us all, no matter where you come from. When people play together they connect, learn, grow and have fun.
We know play is an essential component of children’s wellbeing and development. Play is learning for life. So it makes sense that we want to help find ways to play more!
We understand that play isn’t something you can just talk about. You have to experience it. We also know that a lack of safe places to play is a big inhibitor of play worldwide.
Read the IKEA Play Report 2017
Let’s Play for Change campaign graphics – cubes with childish patterns in different colours.
Play is a basic need
Many people are not aware that play is a basic need, and that every child has a right to it under the UN conventions on the Rights of the Child. The IKEA Foundation has partnered with some of the most prominent NGOs on this topic: Handicap International, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF, and War Child. The partner programs funded by the campaign will focus on creating safe spaces for vulnerable children to play and develop.
To learn more visit IKEAfoundation.org
Kids playing cricket on a dirt ground in the sunset.
“Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child’s brain development and emotional wellbeing,”
“Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being ‘kids’. Through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, while helping build a global movement around play.”
Per Heggenes, CEO at IKEA Foundation.
Three girls having fun skipping rope in the sunshine.
SAGOSKATT – it all goes to charity
SAGOSKATT is finally here! A limited-edition collection of cuddly soft toys drawn and designed by kids as part of the annual IKEA soft toy drawing competition. The soft toys are not only cute and adorable, they serve a much greater purpose. As part of our Let’s Play For Change campaign, IKEA is donating the entire turnover of SAGOSKATT globally to support children’s rights to play and develop. It really is a case of kids designing for kids.
Missed out this year? Not to worry. Join the 2017 IKEA Soft toy drawing competition between 3 - 19 November and your child might be the lucky winner.
Learn more about the Soft toy drawing competitionSee the cuddly SAGOSKATT soft toys
”The ten winning drawings are a lovely mixture of imaginary animals. Simply wonderful personal combinations of colours, shapes and expressions that spark my own imagination.”
Bodil Fritjofsson, Product developer at Children’s IKEA, IKEA of Sweden
This year’s collection includes a claw-less hippopotamus crocodile, a dachshund with a horn and rainbow-coloured wings, a happy-faced rainbow cloud, a lion named “Tiger”, and six other wildly creative cuddly toys.

Last year, Joseph from Adelaide was one of the winners, and is getting to see his Foxy design come to life.
Bodil Fritjofsson
The IWitness Global Citizens programme
This programme gives IKEA co-workers a chance to see first-hand how the money raised through IKEA good cause campaigns contributes to a better life for children in the world’s poorest communities. Co-workers visit various projects run by IKEA Foundation partners, and share their experiences on IKEA Foundations’ Global Citizens blog.
blog.ikeafoundation.org
refugees
Creating a better everyday life for refugees
Guided by our values, we believe that IKEA Group can play an important role in providing opportunities to people from all backgrounds – including refugees.
We have been active in supporting refugees through a variety of local community efforts, such as the donation of products, education projects and co-worker volunteering.
Today eight IKEA Group markets (Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK) have started programmes that help refugees gain work experience, develop new skills and integrate into their new communities. And other markets run a variety of programmes in local communities to support migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups.
We do all this because it is part of our vision, to create a better everyday life for the many people.
IKEA co-workers Yaser Alwili, Lena van Heuven, Elin Johansson and Mohammad Al Heswani are very happy with the refugee inclusion programme.
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Opening doors to employment
Over 90 stores in eight IKEA Group markets have started refugee inclusion programmes that support refugees to gain work experience, develop language skills and integrate into their new communities. Find out more by reading some of their stories:
Eight IKEA markets have started programmes that help refugees gain work experience, developnew skills and integrate into their new communities.
Italy
“Entering IKEA felt like entering a home. I wake up with a smile on my face because I know I’m going somewhere fun where I can help people find what they are looking for. IKEA has allowed me to face the past but also to build my future.”
Alagie Darboe, Self-service co-worker, IKEA Padua store
Nine stores across IKEA Retail Italy have supported over 70 refugees to gain work experience. The programme is run in collaboration with COGES, an NGO which helps young refugees and migrants settle in Italy.
Refugees are hired for three or six months on fixed-term contracts, after which their work is evaluated. So far, nearly two-thirds have had their contract renewed, while the rest were given a job reference to help them find their next opportunity.
The programme has been so successful that all nine stores will continue in 2018, and there are plans to explore how to potentially extend the programme to all 21 stores.
“As a value-centric company, our collaboration with COGES is one way we manage to be drivers of change – both for IKEA and for the refugee community in Italy. The aim of our refugee inclusion programme is to offer training and mentoring so that refugees can improve their skills and start building their future here in Italy. It goes beyond social aid and assistance to making them part of the daily story life. And we are really good at this!” says Laura Tiberto, HR Team Assistant, IKEA Padua store.
Meet co-worker Miriam Egio and find out about her view on the IKEA refugee programme.
Spain
“We hope that this programme will continue to support people to grow, advance and create opportunities for a better future.”
Miriam Egio, HR Manager, IKEA Ensanche de Vallecas store
Since 2015, Spain has received thousands of applications for asylum from refugees. In response, IKEA Retail Spain developed the Employability Programme – part of a wider partnership with the NGOs, ACCEM, ACNUR, CEAR and the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
At IKEA Ensanche de Vallecas and IKEA Murcia stores, refugees are offered a five-week training programme, designed to give them the tools and resources they need to improve their employability skills and access work in the retail sector. Each week is spent learning about work in a different department, combined with training sessions on writing a CV and preparing for interviews.
At the end of the programme, the vast majority of participants had a job interview and over half of them found a job – including six who became IKEA co-workers.
Through first-hand conversations and stories, co-workers at the two stores learned about the life of a refugee and realised the importance of their own role in supporting participants with employability skills. IKEA Retail Spain is rolling the programme out to as many stores as possible, and exploring ways to extend the opportunity to other vulnerable groups.
Meet refugee and co-worker Mohamed Abdullahi and find out about his view on working at IKEA.
Switzerland
“I started the internship programme in September 2016. For me it was a good opportunity to integrate into an international company. I’m now employed long term and am financially independent.”
Mohamed Abdullahi, Logistics co-worker, IKEA Aubonne store
IKEA Retail Switzerland started its refugee inclusion programme in June 2016, offering six-month internships twice a year to refugees across all of its nine stores. Working closely with local authorities, four interns per year are chosen to work at each store.
“We are very happy that every six months, because of this programme, we had the opportunity to hire very motivated co-workers. This also increased our diversity in the store and gave refugees the possibility to continue their integration in our country in a constructive and positive way”, says Bruna Toubia, multi-cultural trainer.
Depending on prior work experience and language skills, some interns might work in logistics, sales, recovery, the food department or other functions. Interns also receive intercultural training. After the internship, participants are provided with a reference and encouraged to apply for open positions at IKEA.
Around 110 local refugees will benefit from the programme until 2019. IKEA Retail Switzerland has also published the Refugee Inclusion Toolkit, sharing their experience with other companies.
Meet co-worker Dan Sandmoen and find out about his view on the IKEA refugee programme.
Norway
“I’m very proud to be part of a project that gives refugees and immigrants their important first step of gaining work experience and learning Norwegian. The participants’ level of engagement and desire to learn has been inspiring.”
Dan Sandmoen, Team Leader, IKEA Furuset store
The Norwegian government challenged the sector of social security to come up with ideas and projects to increase the rate of inclusion of newly arrived refugees and immigrants into the workforce and society of Norway. As an answer to the challenge, the district of Alna in Oslo where IKEA Furuset store is located, thought of involving the Adult Language Learning Centre and IKEA Furuset store.
To meet the needs of newly arrived refugees and migrants to gain work experience in Norway, the IKEA Furuset store in collaboration with the Adult Language Learning Centre, came up with the idea of trying out a Hurtigsporet (“Fast Track”) project. The idea is to allow the participants to learn Norwegian over the period of eight months, while they receive work training at IKEA Furuset store. The goal for IKEA is to recruit new co-workers from the project, and the school’s goal is to get the participants to speak enough Norwegian to get by.
“This project has changed my life 100%. I could not imagine at all that I would get a job within the first year of arriving in Norway, but I now have a part-time job and I make my own money now. At the same time I have colleagues and friends at work that I can talk to and keep practicing my Norwegian.” - Asma from Afghanistan
So far, 11 out of 14 participants have completed the project of training in different departments, and with the help of mentors and staff they learn IKEA values and basically everything about working at IKEA. Five new co-workers have been recruited to the IKEA Furuset store and half the participants passed their Norwegian language tests. The Hurtigsporet project will now be expanded to include IKEA Slependen store, with the hope to make an even bigger impact.
Meet co-worker Hiliary Jenkins and find out about her view on the IKEA refugee programmes.
UK
“Since starting the programme, I’ve witnessed a renewed energy among our co-workers for the IKEA values and appreciation of IKEA as a great place to work – not to mention some fabulous new co-workers joining us. It’s been a win-win experience!”
Hiliary Jenkins, People & Communities Leader, IKEA Retail UK & IE
Imagine being forced to move to a different country, having no idea how to get a job or anyone to guide you. Also, the UK has a lengthy asylum process, during which you can’t work. This creates a gap in employment, while emotionally it can be very isolating. That’s where our partnership with the charity Breaking Barriers steps in as a support network.
Together with Breaking Barriers, IKEA Retail UK has developed a customer service course that is available to refugees for free. The course helps them learn the skills they need to enter the retail job market.
It also includes English language support and a bespoke assessment centre with IKEA so that participants can experience a retail job interview and learn more about IKEA as a values-based company. After this assessment centre some participants are invited back for formal interviews. To date, we have hosted assessment centres in Tottenham, Croydon and Wembley.
"So far, 110 refugees have been supported by the course and 20 have found employment in an IKEA store. And we’re expanding into more stores this year and in 2019 we hope to see every store in the UK on board."
Hiliary Jenkins, People & Communities Leader, IKEA Retail UK & IE
Refugees and their new communities thriving together
Patience, 21, is an aspiring journalist doing vocationaltraining through the International Rescue Committee with support from the IKEA Foundation.
Patience, 21, is an aspiring journalist doing vocational training through the International Rescue Committee with support from the IKEA Foundation
When people are forced to leave their homes, they have to leave most things behind. But no matter what they leave behind, they all bring three things with them wherever they go: skills, talents, aspirations.
The IKEA Foundation* is supporting the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with a €5 million grant to help improve the lives of both refugees and young Kenyans living in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
The partnership promotes refugees’ self-reliance and financial independence through a flexible training and employment programme, tailored to each individual’s needs. By offering business-skills training, start-up grants, apprenticeships, and connections to local employers, the IRC is helping thousands of vulnerable people improve their chances for a better future.
Refugees and their new communities can thrive together when refugees are able to develop their skills, embrace their talents and fulfil their aspirations. Because when refugees are able to work, they create businesses and employ others. They have more money to spend in the local economy and need fewer benefits. They experience less frustration and feel more connected to their new community.
*The philanthropic arm of IKEA Group
Read more about the IKEA Foundation and its partnerships at IKEAfoundation.org
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