Renaisi supported a British National (Overseas) Visa Holder to develop job search, interview, and English language skills to secure a job in line with her overseas skills and experience.

Stock image of a social worker. Image courtesy of Ron Lach via Pexels.

Jane, a social worker from Hong Kong, came to the UK through the British National (Overseas) visa holder route. The circumstances of her move were far from ideal and she faced several barriers trying to rebuild her life in the UK.

While Jane enjoyed life in the UK, watching West End shows and getting to know the architecture and history, she struggled with speaking English and could not find permanent housing or a job.

Finding work in the UK

Before arriving in the UK, Jane had sent her CV to potential employers but never heard back.

Jane did not believe she’d be able to restart her career as a social worker immediately and would need to find other employment to support herself. Jane had found communicating in her second language challenging so she hoped a job in a supermarket or café  would allow her to practice her English.

Then Jane saw an advertisement about Renaisi’s services on a Facebook page for Hong Kongers in the UK. She was quickly accepted onto the Renaisi Hong Kongers programme and signed up for her first coaching session.

Jane’s confidence grew as she took part in the group workshops and 1-2-1 coaching on offer. She learnt about social work jobs in the UK and realised her Hong Kong-style CV was likely to be the reason she had not heard anything back from previous applications.

In Hong Kong CVs tend to be very long, including all previous employment, listing roles and duties without highlighting specific skills. At the Renaisi CV writing workshop, Jane learnt that it was important to include a personal statement and tailor her CV to each job she applied for. She also learnt how to shorten her CV to a more appropriate length for the UK. Jane worked on her new CV at home and then fine-tuned it with her coach.

“The CV workshop and one on one coaching session is (what) make me more confident to get the job.”

Her CV was not the only thing that improved her confidence. A workshop Renaisi delivered on using LinkedIn gave Jane a new way to connect to professionals in her industry and find job adverts. Workshops on UK interview skills helped Jane understand what to expect and mock interviews with her coach helped her practice answering questions and prepare for success.

The value of personalised coaching

The most important aspect of the Renaisi service was the support Jane’s coach provided. Not only did the coach help Jane to develop the knowledge and skills she needed to find a job, they also provided someone to turn to for questions about UK culture. That built Jane’s confidence and enabled her to integrate more successfully into her local community.

“My coach is very great… she follows my situation and will give me some advice.”

Jane also found that speaking regularly to her coach in English helped her to improve and feel more confident to converse with other English speakers.

“I think the most change is that I gained confidence… to speak in English every day, every moment.”

Despite expecting to find part-time work unrelated to her overseas skills and experience, Jane was able to secure a job as a social worker in a similar position to her Hong Kong job.  In fact, in her last meeting with her coach she was choosing between several job offers she had received.

Jane has now settled into a job and is happily living in London.

Rebecca Spruce

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