Collaborating to create a brighter future

13 April 2017

Cardiff University students at the Enactus Expo in London
Cardiff University students at the Enactus Expo in London

Enterprising undergraduates and part-time refugee students at Cardiff University are celebrating after an initiative to help refugees integrate into life in Wales secured a place in the final of a UK-wide contest.

Asylum seekers and refugees studying at Cardiff University’s Division of Continuing and Professional Education worked with undergraduates from Cardiff Business School to offer refugees and asylum seekers with existing degrees and work experience in their home country the opportunity to build their prospects by developing social enterprise ideas.

The Business School’s undergraduates participated in the initiative with the support of Enactus UK, a global organisation which helps students to make a difference in their local community whilst developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.

‘Pathway to a Profession’

For the refugees, the additional experience gained will help them to find work, and settle into their new life in Wales. Enrolled on a ‘Pathway to a Profession’ course in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council, some of the refugees now have the opportunity to progress to studying for an MSc in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Business School.

The achievements of the partnership were showcased at the Enactus UK National Expo in London on 11th April, which brought together businesses, students and researchers to showcase how entrepreneurship, collaboration and shared innovation can transform lives and create a brighter future.

Cardiff Business School’s Professor Tim Edwards, Co-convenor of the University’s Responsible Innovation Network, said: “Initiatives such as this demonstrate how entrepreneurship and innovative thinking can really make a difference...”

“The refugee students involved in this scheme have grown in confidence through the opportunity to improve their situation, while the undergraduate students have seen how social enterprise can play an important role in helping individuals and communities to overcome obstacles.”

Dr Tim Edwards, Professor of Organization and Innovation Analysis

“It’s great to see that the project’s achievements have been recognised, offering further hope for participants in the future.”

Commenting on the success, Iona Hannagan-Lewis, Education Officer for the Welsh Refugee Council, said:“One of the biggest issues facing refugees and asylum seekers in Wales today is the lack of opportunities for professional development. This then becomes a vicious cycle, as without work people become de-motivated, depressed, and socially isolated – and fall even further from finding employment. The success of this project is a fantastic example of how collaboration can build bridges, recognising and enabling the positive contribution that refugees can make to Wales.”

Sudanese engineer Mogdad Abdeen, a refugee who came to Wales in 2015, said: “Participating in the programme with the Enactus students has been a huge boost to my confidence. It has been great to build a network of likeminded people, and to work as part of a team. As a result, I’m now hoping to study for a Master’s degree at Cardiff University, and after that I hope to set up my own business.”

Further information about the Wales Refugee Council can be found here.

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