World Refugee Day: Tech companies promise jobs and training support in Europe

World Refugee Day: Tech companies promise jobs and training support in Europe
Technology companies are among firms pledging to support refugees in Europe with Amazon committing to hiring at least 5,000 refugees and Microsoft and Cisco offering technical training.

The news of the widespread support was unveiled at the Tent European Business Summit in Paris and timed to coincide with World Refugee Day, June 20. Organised by the Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), the initiative comes as Europe faces its largest refugee crisis since World War II.

Collective pledges commit to provide more than 250,000 Ukrainian refugee women and other refugees with jobs and training across Europe.

Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, who gave the keynote speech at the summit, said: “With no end in sight to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and with the European Union welcoming millions of Ukrainians – it’s imperative that refugees are offered longer-term inclusion and hope through integration into the labour market.

“The opening of the EU’s borders to Ukrainians over a year ago showed Europe at its best. However, one year on, far too many refugees remain unemployed, despite our endemic skills shortages, their high levels of education, desire to earn a living, and legal right to work through the Temporary Protection Directive. This unprecedented show of support from businesses across the continent will be critical to enabling tens of thousands of Ukrainians to provide for themselves and their loved ones back in Ukraine.”

Ofori Agboka, vice president of People eXperience and Technology (PXT) for global operations at Amazon and Tent Advisory Council member, said: “We know the diversity of our workforce makes us a stronger company, which is why we actively seek to hire people with different backgrounds, skill sets, and levels of experience. We understand the barriers that exist for refugees and other displaced people, and are committed to providing access to meaningful employment.

“We’re proud of the pledge we have made today, which reflects Amazon’s ongoing commitment to support refugees globally.”

Several major companies also announced commitments to provide training – both directly as well as through partner organisations – over the next three years to help refugees develop in-demand technical skills such as IT, coding, and cyber security, as well as gain a better understanding of the European job market.

Commitments included pledges from Cisco who will provide training to at least 10,000 refugees and Microsoft who will train at least 5,000.

Dominika Bettman, GM of Microsoft Poland and Tent European Business Summit co-host, said: “The millions of Ukrainian refugees that Poland and the rest of Europe have welcomed since the start of the war are primarily women with childcare burdens. Many continue to face professional and social challenges as they strive to enter the local labour market. Training is a critical stepping stone for these willing and talented individuals as they seek to find work. Microsoft is proud to be a part of today’s watershed moment with our commitment to work with our partners across Europe to train at least 5,000 Ukrainians until 2025.”

A complete list of the commitments announced at the summit can be found here.

Top image credit: Lozano del Rey

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