"I arrived in Greece in 2017, but I feel that my life started in 2018, when I started going to school and working. Today, I work as an interpreter and at the same time I attend the last grade of high school. My dream is to work as a social worker or educator ", says Umer, a recognized refugee from Pakistan who participated in the Career Day – ‘Career4all’ organized for Refugees and Asylum Seekers that took place at the City Hall of Thessaloniki, at the end of September.
Umer is one of the approximately 300 recognized refugees who participated in the event which aimed at bringing together refugees with the Greek labor market. The initiative was organized by the Council for the Integration of Immigrants and Refugees of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the Working Group for the integration of migrants and refugees, with the support of the HELIOS integration project, implemented by the International Organization for Migration.
Participants had the opportunity to attend a series of presentations where job counselors presented, among other things, job search techniques and talked about labor relations and labor market rights. Also, representatives of the construction industry referred to the employment opportunities in the specific industry while a representative of a recruitment agency explained to the participants how one can use the services of such agencies.
Amongst the participants was Brug, originally from Burundi, who responded to the call to claim a better future: "In Greece I have worked for four different employers. Today, I work in a glass factory. To find a job you must use all the ways and means. I am systematically supported by an employment consultant through the HELIOS project. I am informed about new jobs and always participate in Career Days ".
The presence of employers from the wider area of Thessaloniki was also significant. Representatives of 14 companies and recruiting agencies attended the event confirming their interest in recruiting workforce, while individual interviews were conducted with the participants with the help of interpreters where the need arose.
“For the HELIOS project, events like today have a dual purpose: refugees have the opportunity to meet and talk with employers exploring areas of cooperation and, in addition, such initiatives give them the opportunity to become acquainted with actions and practices around labor market which as Greeks know and use very well”, said Natasa Arapidou, HELIOS Employability Coordinator.
One such case is that of Severin, from Cameroon, who had the opportunity to follow, among other things, the advice given by qualified career counselors on practical issues related to access the local labor market.
"Do not give up, do not lose hope! "No matter how many CVs you send, stay focused on your goal and you will achieve it", says Severin with a smile. He is currently working as an employee and interpreter in a hotel in Milos, while looking for a job in the city of Thessaloniki.
Umer, Brug and Severin are three examples of people continuously striving to improve their lives, setting the ground for an autonomous living in the country.
This efforts of the recognized refugees in Greece are supported by the integration project HELIOS of the International Organization for Migration, which through its pillars of action aims at the smooth and effective integration of the recognized refugees in the Greek society, making them active and autonomous members of the community.
The project, implemented with the support of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum and funded by the European Commission, enhances job readiness through the provision of counseling services, access to work-related certifications and networking with potential employers.
It is worth noting that from the beginning of the program in July 2019 until September 2021, 6,216 counseling sessions were held with recognized refugees on labor issues, based on skills, work experience and market needs.
More information here.