Migrants are to get help matching their skills to secure work in Scotland with the launch of a new project.
The pilot led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) aims to set up Scotland’s first migrant and refugee skills recognition and accreditation hub.
The initiative, backed by the Scottish Government, wants to see incomers to Scotland realise their potential, while reducing skills gap in sectors including construction, engineering, health and social care.
Dr Ima Jackson, senior lecturer and researcher at GCU, said: “Scotland needs this because there is such a real shortage of skilled workers and migrant skills are being wasted.
“Employers are not easily able to access the skills people bring because there is no infrastructure where migrants can have their skills and qualifications recognised.
“There is nowhere for people to go to say ‘I want to work in Scotland. I have these skills and how can they be transferred?’ A good infrastructure for Scotland is even more crucial as we head towards Brexit.”
Partners in the project include the Bridges Programmes, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, and Glasgow Clyde College.
Business, Fair Work and Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Access to employment is pivotal to the process of settlement and stability for migrants, however too often people face multiple barriers to enter the labour market and even greater challenges entering at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.
“To address the challenges associated with the training and employment of minority and ethnic people and refugees, I am delighted that the Scottish Government is able to provide Glasgow Caledonian University with £158,207 for 2017-18 and 2018-19 to undertake this project.”
Scottish Enterprise head of strategy services, Linda Murray, said it was important to recognise the “largely untapped” potential of migrant workers in Scotland.
She added: “If this new initiative can help unblock paths to employment or progression for people sitting in jobs below their level of skills and qualification, it will surely strengthen Scotland’s proposition as a great place to live, work and invest.”