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What can companies do to help refugees find work?

Through a partnership with charity Breaking Barriers, IKEA is helping refugees find employment in the UK. Find out more about the project ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.

A portrait of Sheun.
A portrait of Sheun.

    Last year, IKEA UK and Ireland partnered with Breaking Barriers, a London-based charity that helps refugees find meaningful employment. ‘We launched a programme that includes employment support, English classes, customer service training and an assessment day. While a job isn’t guaranteed, it’s about giving lasting support,’ says Breaking Barriers CEO Matthew Powell. Sheun (pictured above) is one of the ambassadors for the program who came to the UK from Nigeria aged 11, and had to wait ten and a half years for the legal right to work. ‘It took us ten and a half years to get leave to remain,’ Sheun says. ‘People don’t know how hard it is to be a refugee. When you talk to them, they’re shocked.’ With support from Breaking Barriers, he applied for a job in-store and is now happy to be part of the ‘big IKEA family’. Watch the video to learn more about IKEA and Breaking Barriers…

    ‘Architects, engineers, lawyers… anyone can be forced to flee their country. This is an issue on our doorstep,’ says people and communities leader for IKEA UK & Ireland Hiliary Jenkins. ‘IKEA Foundation does impressive work worldwide, and while we were inspired by an internship programme piloted in Switzerland, this is a complex issue that’s different in every country. Since the partnership began, 110 refugees have received support with 20 gaining jobs at IKEA. We started with three stores in London, and in 2019, we hope to see every store in the country on board.’

    Honour World Refugee Day on June 20
    Find out what IKEA is doing to support refugees in your country at This Is IKEA
    Photographer: Caroline Irby