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February 4, 2021

Home Secretary and World Jewish Relief Mark 5 Years of STEP Success


Refugee in Waitrose uniform stacking shelves

Home Secretary and World Jewish Relief Mark 5 Years of STEP Success

Home Secretary Priti Patel met this week with World Jewish Relief’s CEO Paul Anticoni and UK Programme Director Janice Lopatkin MBE, to mark nearly five years since the launch of the Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) developed and run by World Jewish Relief, which has assisted nearly 1000 resettled refugees.

World Jewish Relief, with funding from the Jewish community, the EU and the Home Office, has been delivering tailored and intensive employment support to resettled refugees since January 2016. The STEP programme is delivered in 12 locations in the UK, partnering with NGOs and local authorities and is achieving employment outcomes between 19–29% – compared to a national average of 2% without this provision. World Jewish Relief is now remarkably the single largest provider of resettled refugee employment support – a credit to the commitment the Jewish community has shown to the refugee issue.


One participant who found employment through the STEP programme is Juman (pictured). Juman arrived in Coventry in 2018, aged 22. Having initially struggled to find work, she enrolled onto the STEP programme and was offered a two-day training with Marks and Spencers followed by a 2-week placement in one of their stores. In late 2019 Juman was offered a full time position, and was recently named Marks and Spencers Employee of the Year. ‘The training was really helpful in building my confidence. It taught me to improve my CV and taught me interview skills. It felt like people cared about us.’ Read more about how Juman found work here.

With the UK’s global resettlement programme soon to resume, World Jewish Relief highlighted the importance of employment support as an early and integral part of any resettlement process and encouraged the Home Secretary to consider this going forwards.

The Home Secretary heard how World Jewish Relief’s foundation was born from a desire to assist Jewish refugees to find sanctuary in the UK during the 1930s, a core part of which was assisting them to secure employment. Such heritage and World Jewish Relief’s contemporary employment expertise across Eastern Europe has provided the foundation for this programme’s success.

Janice Lopatkin explained how Covid-19 has necessitated a shift in the STEP programme’s approach and anticipated employment market. Many participants previously found work in the hospitality industry, which has been badly affected by the pandemic. More recently the team have identified growing opportunities in the social care and IT sectors and are supporting refugees to find employment in these areas.

Janice Lopatkin said:

We are delighted that the resettlement scheme will be starting again. It is a very important moment for us to meet with the Home Secretary to reflect on our achievements, to share our learning and to discuss the importance of employment in the new resettlement scheme.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

Our refugee resettlement schemes have helped tens of thousands of people rebuild their lives in the UK, and World Jewish Relief have played a vital role in their delivery, making a real and positive difference to so many lives.

The STEP programme is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.

It is delivered in partnership with Coventry City CouncilBristol City CouncilHorton Housing AssociationRefugee CouncilNewcastle City Council.

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Find out more about our refugee work and support our programmes.