Lived experiences of Ukrainians seeking employment in Scotland
Scottish Government researchers have conducted in-depth interviews with seventeen UDPs currently living in Scotland to inform policy and service design. The interviews have explored a number of issues including employment and skills and reflect some of the findings from the HMRC and ONS data. Experiences of work were mixed with some finding jobs in Scotland similar to their previous role in Ukraine, whilst others had taken jobs which were low-skilled and poorly paid.
A number of the interviewees highlighted that they were not looking for work due to on-going issues with trauma associated with the conflict in Ukraine. Some mentioned issues with their qualifications not being recognised in Scotland, and others with confusion around their right to work. However, overall, there was a recognition by respondents of the importance of employment to enable participants to live longer-term in Scotland, and their willingness to secure whatever employment they can to support this.
The following case studies provide an illustration of two UDPs in Scotland and the challenges they have experienced in accessing employment:
Case study 1: female, early 30s, was an Account Manager in Ukraine.
She’s currently working part time in Scotland as a hotel housekeeper. Her English language skills and lack of access to childcare have limited her employment opportunities in Scotland - although she also commented that “even those who speak [English] well don’t always find good jobs”. She has struggled to access English language classes to enable her to further develop her language skills due to a combination of lack of spaces on college courses, and her limited availability due to work and childcare commitments.
Case study 2: female, early 40s with three children.
Engineer and educated to postgraduate level. Currently seeking part time employment in Scotland. She reported in the interview that she believes there is no demand for her qualifications in Scotland so is planning to re-train in IT. Has been advised that to improve her employment prospects she need to improve her English. However, she’s concerned that her current English classes are not sufficient. She commented that: “It is very difficult to find a job. The most common part-time job opportunities involve working in care homes, but most places like that require cars, some qualifications, or certificates which I don’t have”. She added: “The problem is that if I take those 2 extra days for work, I’ll spend my entire salary on babysitters. College helps with funding extra-curricular activities for kids, so I have the opportunity to study”.
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