General Assembly partners with leading UK Charity to create and enhance Career opportunities

Breaking Barriers, which helps refugees acquire the knowledge, confidence, and experience they need for full-time employment, will work with GA to connect refugees with in-demand tech education.

Today, global education provider and career transformation company General Assembly (GA) announced a formal partnership with Breaking Barriers to provide a range of training and career services opportunities to refugees and people of refugee backgrounds across the U.K. Following the success of recent collaborations, the expanded partnership will be centered around enhancing career opportunities for individuals from refugees backgrounds through targeted upskilling and reskilling in key digital and technology disciplines, such as Software Engineering, Data Analytics, Product Management and Digital Marketing.

According to statistics by the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), there were over 133,000 refugees as well as over 60,000 pending asylum cases in the UK at the end of 2019. While many of these individuals have historically faced challenges finding meaningful employment due to tight labour market conditions, low levels of digital access, and limited formal education, recent research by Breaking Barriers has found that COVID-19 has exacerbated these concerns. Data showed that 32% of refugee respondents that were in work prior to the crisis were now unemployed as a result of COVID-19, while unemployment rates for the UK as a whole were only expected to increase from 4% to 10%. The report also showed that digitalisation of activities has made access to digital equipment and digital literacy increasingly important, with a high proportion of refugees reporting it as a primary support need.

"We know that refugees are being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also know that there's an effective way to address these challenges through collaborative and innovative partnerships like the one we've formed with General Assembly," said Matt Powell, CEO and Founder of Breaking Barriers. "Through this joint effort, we will be able to provide our clients with alternative pathways to meaningful careers by connecting them with the training and resources they need to succeed in today's evolving job market. Working alongside GA, we can also offer more career advice, technical support, and access to an extended network of hiring partners."

General Assembly is a global upskilling and reskilling company whose programs enable individuals and companies to grow, compete, and thrive in the digital economy. The organization first opened its doors in London in 2013 and has since served tens of thousands of participants through GA programmes. While the company has since pivoted to remote-only learning as the result of the pandemic, it has remained a key hub for providing students with the digital and technology skills they need to thrive in today's marketplace.

As part of the partnership, GA will provide services to refugees through Breaking Barriers, including:

Fully reskilling high-potential refugee individuals through immersive training bootcamps to enable new career paths as software engineers;

Providing wide access to upskilling opportunities through classes and workshops on key topics to close specific skills gaps to increase job matches and applicant success rates;

Providing access to learning opportunities to build digital and technology literacy for all refugee job seekers currently working with Breaking Barriers, as well as for staff to enable better support and outcomes.

"Social impact work and community building are at the heart of so much of what we do here at General Assembly. Finding ways to support refugee communities was one of the priorities I set when I joined the organisation last year and I am so excited to see this partnership launch and expand this year, transforming the lives of some of these most in need," said Lisa Lewin, CEO at General Assembly. "As a business committed to helping underserved populations secure meaningful work, GA could not be prouder to partner with Breaking Barriers as we work to unlock more career pathways for incredible talent from all walks of life."

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