Calling on Afghan Refugees: South West NHS and Bristol City Council team up to recruit people from Afghanistan with settled status into careers in health and social care.

NHS organisations and local councils in the Bristol and Bath area are holding a careers’ open day aimed at people recently arrived from Afghanistan who have been granted the right to work. The event at Bristol City Hall on Wednesday 30 March will be promoting non clinical jobs in the NHS and also roles in the care sector.

In 2021 Bristol City Council welcomed 320 refugees through government funded resettlement schemes and most recently 90 people and their families, who worked for the UK government in Afghanistan, have been resettled through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) Scheme, in response to the withdrawal of troops in the country.

Kate Milton, Head of Equality and Inclusion South West, NHS England and NHS Improvement said:

“We know that many people who have fled Afghanistan and have achieved settled status are keen to work in their local community. Health and Social care organisations in the region currently have vacancies in their workforce and are keen to support refugees to work locally in health and care. Working in the NHS will give the Afghan people economic stability and support their integration into their local community. We can provide secure employment with good terms and conditions and a caring environment with values of compassion and inclusion and where everyone counts. The opportunity is a win-win for refugees and for the health and social care sector.”

Councillor Helen Holland, Bristol City Council Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System said:

“We are grateful for the response from businesses across the city to support refugees starting a new life here into employment. As a City of Sanctuary, Bristol is committed to providing a welcome and safe home to vulnerable families and these opportunities for employment are reflective of this.

“The open day and range of opportunities on offer, including non-clinical jobs and starter roles for people who have not worked in the UK, is the result of a great collaboration. Being given the support and training to secure a job will make a real difference in the lives of these families.

“We all know that there is great demand for new recruits into our care and health workforce, and where newly arrived Bristolians have those skills and interests, we would really welcome their contribution to the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable residents.”

“Evidence shows that employing people from diverse backgrounds brings a wealth of lived experience into the workforce which can lead to improved outcomes for patients. We value the diversity and multilingual skills refugees would bring to the workforce.”

Jobs available include roles in catering, administration, clerical, digital communications and hospital porters.  Refugees will be supported through the recruitment process by the NHS and receive training.

Mina Fatemi, who came to the UK as a refugee nurse from Iran in 2011 and now works in a senior role for the NHS in the South West said: “There are great opportunities for career progression in the NHS. I joined NHS as a healthcare assistant, which was essential to familiarise myself with the UK healthcare system and be able to pass the overseas registration exams. After five months I started to work as a registered nurse and now, have a fulfilling career in a senior non-clinical role. I would encourage Afghan refugees who are looking for decent and stable jobs to consider the many opportunities in the NHS.

Employers attending the event include University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), North Bristol NHS Trust, Proud to Care, Milestones Trust and Brunel Care.

The recruitment drive is a pilot project and if successful will be rolled out in other parts of the South West.