Chamber initiative to connect businesses with refugees looking for work

Staffordshire Chambers has launched a new initiative that connects local businesses with refugees who have graduated from our Positive Pathways programme.

The Positive Pathways programme supports refugees who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution with employability skills and business start-up advice.

Many of our participants are now seeking employment opportunities in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area.

Positive Pathways project manager Julie Priestnall said: “We are currently working with many refugees who want to work and make a valuable contribution to their host community. They are highly skilled and capable individuals who hold qualifications and practical experience across many areas of work.

“With an increasingly tight labour market it has become much harder for employers to fill job vacancies. At the Chamber, we have contact with refugees locally with the skillsets that local employers are struggling to find.

“Naheed (pictured second from left) is one of many success stories from the programme. She’s progressed through Positive Pathways and has now launched her own hair salon in Hanley.

“With this in mind, we are looking to engage with employers who would consider taking on a refugee in the vacancies they are finding difficult to fill at the moment.”

The UK’s economic recovery is at risk as three out of four companies struggle to hire new recruits, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The BCC said around 61% of firms were looking for staff in the second quarter, similar to 60% in the first quarter. But 76% were reporting difficulties.

If your business is interested in supporting refugees with employment opportunities, please email

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