UKRAINIAN refugees who have moved to South Gloucestershire are already finding their feet and looking to build a future for themselves and their families through work, thanks to the generosity of their hosts, the council, as well as Government and other partners.

South Gloucestershire Council has been working with the lead support provider for people who have arrived under the Homes for Ukraine programme, Julian House, and others, as well as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through JobCentre Plus and the families who have taken in refugees, to help them find work and training opportunities.

A number of Ukrainians have already found work with the council, while others have begun working with other employers in the district, following a welcome event for recent arrivals hosted by the council at the Yate Fire Station in May.

At that event, aimed at helping Ukrainian guests find out more about life in South Gloucestershire, to highlight the support available to them and their sponsors and to help introduce them to others in a similar situation, was Katya. 

As Katya understands English, Ukrainian and Russian, she was asked and agreed to act as an interpreter, translating information for those who spoke little English.

Mark Pullin, who heads up the council’s Homes for Ukraine work, was immediately impressed.

He said: “Having only just arrived from another country, Katya stepped in at late notice, stood up in front of over 100 people and did a fantastic job live translating the presentations.

“I spoke to her after the event and asked her what job she wanted to do. She said this was probably the first and last time she wanted to do interpreting work, but she was really interested in technology and wanted to pursue a career in IT.”

Katya kept in touch with the council and when a role in the IT department came up, she applied.

She said: “The digital trainee role sounded perfect to me. The people I’d met at the council were very friendly, so I had a good feel about the organisation and I could see how the job offered me an opportunity to learn new skills whilst helping local people.”