Belal’s Story

As a refugee who didn't speak English, the future was uncertain for Belal. He welcomed the employment support the GREAT Project offered him.

Belal’s journey with the GREAT Project started when he met Employment Support Officer Harinder at The Employment Hub partnership event ‘Almostakbol’ (Futures), an engagement event organised by the Employment Hub in conjunction with Star Amal Leicester City Council in October 2019.

After arriving in the UK as a refugee a few months prior to the event, speaking no English and unsure what the future would hold, he welcomed the opportunities of support into employment that GREAT offered and signed up for the Project to join a bespoke bi-lingual tailored group.

A passionate and experienced chef and baker he spoke animatedly about using his experience and skills to gain work in the U.K. He shared videos and photos of his work experience with his Employment Support Officer Harinder, which helped him gain insight into his experience and transferable skills. He was dedicated to pursuing his goal and attended site tours and workshops provided by the GREAT Project. Over time his confidence and knowledge grew and he would try to speak and communicate in English with his Employment Support Officer, but still needed bi-lingual support.

Belal commented on the GREAT Project:

“They are patient and supportive staff who doesn’t give up on me.”

In Summer 2021 he secured his first work role in a local confectionary shop making Middle Eastern confectionery. He has aspirations to become self-employed as a baker and entrepreneur. He is also looking at an additional role as a driver to build up savings toward his longer-term goal.

Upon his exit he shared:

“Very helpful, all round, helped me understand. The project supported and encouraged me, it was great coming here too so I didn’t feel isolated.”

Belal’s Employment Support Officer Harinder adds:

“Belal’s positive outlook and engagement on the Project enabled a rapid growth in his confidence and understanding of how to apply his learning skills and knowledge for finding work. His transition journey is inspirational and he is such a positive role model for young people.”