May 23, 2019
What would you do if you were forced out of the country that you grew up in and sent somewhere away from everything you knew?
When Adnan came over to England as a Syrian refugee he couldn’t speak the language and knew nothing about his new home, Ellesmere Port. Although Adnan was keen to get back into work and provide for his family, there were barriers blocking his path. In his native country, Adnan worked in construction and carpentry, but not having the right certification meant he was unable to work in British construction environments. Adnan also struggled to get around as, even though had his own car and had been driving for many years in Syrian, his driving licence wasn’t valid in the UK. These two things combined, along with his language barrier, meant Adnan was really struggling to find work.
The New Leaf team at Cheshire West and Chester Council, along with forfutures, were given the task to help Adnan, and other Syrian families in the area, to feel welcome and integrated in the community. At New Leaf, every participant is paired with a dedicated mentor to support them throughout their time on the programme. For Adnan, that mentor was Lewis.
“I have received so much support from my mentor. Lewis arranged group meetings with my Syrian friends, so we could practice speaking English. We would talk about family, culture, home life – anything! That really helped me improve my speaking English and adapt to the local community.”
While Adnan was improving his English, Lewis was busy arranging for Adnan to complete his CSCS qualification, alongside a New Leaf funded translator to give Adnan the best chance at success. He passed it with easy and was now able to work on construction sites in England.
But being unable to drive was having a big impact on Adnan’s life. From not being able to take his children out to explore their new home town, to making simple tasks such as doing a food-shop, time consuming and expensive, and, of course, limiting his job opportunities. As Adnan was already a skilled driver, he just needed a few lessons with a trained driving instructor, who was sourced and funded by New Leaf, to make sure he was familiar with British roads, before he was ready for his driving test, which he passed with flying colours.
“My mentor really supported me to get my driving license, he even came with me to my driving test. I have never known support like this before. Adapting to the community has been difficult for myself, my family and other Syrian refugees, but New Leaf have supported me in all aspects of my life.”
Now Adnan is back on the road to employment and is hoping to find the perfect job as a carpenter as soon as possible.
New Leaf is led by Torus Foundation and is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and The National Lottery Community Fund.