Business and Refugees, with Yusuf and Emily

Podcast Interview

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Business and refugees are not two words that are often heard together. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide.

Being a ‘forcibly displaced person’ or a ‘refugee’ are labels. What does it really take to rebuild your life in a new country? And how can businesses lean in and support people to get back on their feet, to get quality jobs and to support all our economies and communities as best they can?

During this podcast you will meet Mohammad Yusuf. Yusuf shares with us his journey – from Syria to London. Yusuf is a software developer, who left Syria when the conflict escalated. Yusuf reached the UK and applied for asylum, sought refugee status and ‘the right to work’…this conversation examines how he rebuilt his life and how he found applying for a legal right to work.

Yusuf explains: “One of the barriers I faced at first was the right to work. I didn’t have the right tools straightaway when I came to the UK. Being a refugee or asylum seeker makes getting a job very difficult. I didn’t have the local qualifications, I lacked the local connections and network, plus English isn’t my first language.”

Alongside Yusuf, we also hear from Emily Johnson who is the Director of Europe Corporate Responsibility for Cummins, a global power leader that designs, manufactures and distributes power solutions.

People working with Cummins started volunteering at workshops with Breaking Barriers – a charity who supports refugees into meaningful employment. Emily explains how they partnered with Breaking Barriers to develop a sustained refugee employability programme.

Emily explains: “We know that people from refugee backgrounds have faced tremendous challenges and bring skills, experience and wisdom that can make our communities and our business stronger and more resilient. We believe that we have a role to play in helping to improve the situation for refugees in our communities. We know we are not the experts, so we seek to partner with non-profits that have deep expertise and understanding of the needs of refugees in our communities. We found that expertise in Breaking Barriers.”


Breaking Barriers:
Refugees at Home:
Cummins: and
Careers at Cummins – to
Join the FUSE network:
Twitter: @BB_UK1; @Cummins; @CumminsEurope
Instagram: Breakingbarriersuk

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