This is the story of Urmila, a migrant from Mauritius, who joined the Refugees into Sustainable employment (RISE) programme and was successfully employed within a month.

RISE is a free employment programme designed specifically for refugees and migrants. Launched in April 2017, RISE supports refugees across 10 boroughs in North and East London into sustainable, rewarding employment. It is part of the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund (ESF) Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme.

Urmila’s story

After working various jobs in the UK, Urmila became redundant in 2014. She then spent the next 3 years trying to find employment but found that her refugee status was a major barrier to work. In July 2017 Urmila was referred to RISE by the charity organisation RAMFEL (Refugee & Migrant Forum Of East London), and things started to change.

Our approach

Refugees who join RISE are matched with a dedicated employment advisor and will have access to a range of training sessions and workshops to help them improve their English and find a job.

After an initial assessment, Urmila was referred to one of our dedicated RISE Career Caseworkers who worked with Urmila to agree a plan of action: 

  • Helping Urmila to create a well-crafted, professional CV to help her stand out
  • Providing her with access to a wide range of job opportunities including jobs offered by Renaisi
  • Working with her to improve her self-confidence through a range of training courses and workshops
  • Helping her to overcome barriers into employment
  • Providing her with support and advice before, during and after any job interviews she attended

With Urmila’s previous experience working in Civil Service in Mauritius she hoped to find similar work here in the UK. Shortly after joining the RISE programme, her Caseworker suggested she should apply for an administrative position at Renaisi. Urmila was hesitant to apply so soon.

“I wasn’t very confident, I’ll be honest with you. Because I hadn’t done an admin job in a  very long time.”


To help her regain some of the self-confidence she has lost in the three years she spent struggling to find work, she joined she joined RISE’s confidence building training sessions.

With the help of her Career Caseworker, she submitted her job application to Renaisi and worked on her interviewing techniques. With her new CV and past professional work experience, Urmila was a strong candidate on paper for employment. But her growing support network at RISE wanted to make sure she could be confident and do well if she was invited to job interviews.


By joining our RISE programme and working closely with her advisor, Urmila was not only able to increase her confidence with regards to finding employment in the UK, but also had the support she needed to apply and interview for the position at Renaisi.

Just a few months later Urmila interviewed for an Employment Programme Administrator role at Renaisi’s Lambeth office. She was successful, got the job and is now a valued member of our team. 

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