Refugeeks is an innovative way to welcome refugees. It helps newcomers find training and jobs, allowing them to find a place in France, adapt to their new life and contribute to the local economy.
Refugees join non-refugee students for a seven-month technology course, with up to four refugees in each class of 24, where everyone learns digital skills together. The refugee students also take 300 hours of language classes, learning French for everyday and professional situations.
Project workers assist the refugees with practical matters like understanding the transport system and direct them to qualified social workers for issues such as finding housing or access to state aid. They also help refugees prepare for job interviews when they complete the course.
Courses are free for all students – refugee and non-refugee. The mixed technology classes allow refugees to experience French life and practice their French, while building connections with local students through the shared work. Vocational training provider Simplon.co set up the programme in 2016.
"We developed the project because we were convinced that our training model of short intensive courses could help refugees who have recently arrived in France"
- Theo Biddulph, Refugeeks project director.
Osman Ahmadi is an example of how Refugeeks can make a difference. Originally from Afghanistan, he followed the course from November 2016 to July 2017. Soon after it ended he found a job with one of the project partners, and since August 2017 has been working full-time as a web developer.
Other notable successes include a group of refugee students who have now created a social startup, Refuhelp, which provides information for refugees, businesses and other organisations, and coding services. From another group of students, Refugeeks partner BNP Paribas employed eight refugees in a 13-month apprenticeship.