Afghan refugees building new lives in Liverpool

With the help of training business Seetec Outsource, 60 Afghan refugees living in Liverpool are forging new lives in the city they now regard as their home. Tony McDonough reports

Septic
Muzhgan, 21, fled Afghanistan and is building a new life in Liverpool

 

A group of Afghan refugees in Liverpool who were forced to flee their country following the return of the Taliban are now in a training programme that is helping them to build new lives in the city.

Almost 45,000 people fled Afghanistan for the UK in 2021 when US troops pulled out of the country leaving a power vacuum that was swiftly filled by the Taliban. Harsh oppression, particularly of women and girls, swiftly followed.

Of those 44,825 refugees that found their way to the UK more than 90% came to the north of England. In Liverpool a group of 60 refugees have now taken big steps to transform their lives with the help of training business Seetec Outsource.

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It is helping those with limited English-speaking skills to fast-track their language and knowledge development to give them the confidence to secure employment. They have already benefited not from from the learning bit also being able to mix and make connections with other people.

From January the trainees will move into a work placement phase, moving them closer to entering employment or to continue their education in the city. Two Afghan refugees who are currently part of the programme are Waheed, 22 and Muzhgan, 21. 

Muzhgan is one of just a handful of female learners attending the city centre traineeship programme. She was a fourth-year medical student in Kabul before her family was evacuated, with dreams of becoming a plastic surgeon.

Having lost both her parents, and more recently a brother, who was killed in a bomb attack on his office, Muzhgan finally feels safe in Liverpool and has embraced the city as her new home.

Despite the challenges she has faced, she is more determined than ever to turn her ambitions into a reality. She explained: “The course has been so much fun, and we’ve taken part in lots of activities. It has helped me to feel more settled in the UK.

“We’re also getting practical support with job and university applications, which is really helpful. It’s important for me to go back to university and continue my studies so that I can follow my dream of becoming a plastic surgeon one day.

Waheed was a civil engineering student in Kabul before his family was forced to flee Afghanistan. He had high hopes for his future in the UK but spoke very little English when he first arrived in the country. With Seetec’s support, he will still be able to pursue his career goals. 

 

Seetec
21-year-old Afghan refugee Waheed is now making a new life in Liverpool

 

He said: “I really want to become a civil engineer in the UK but need to improve my English before I can continue my studies here.  Although I learned some English in school, I didn’t have the ability or confidence to have a proper conversation. After just three weeks on the ESOL course I’ve improved so much.”

Andi Macgregor, operations director for education and skills at Seetec, said: “Our aim has always been – and always will be – to change lives for the better. We can support Afghan refugees by giving them the skills and capabilities they need to successfully integrate into life in the UK and become active and valued members of their new communities.

“It’s rewarding to see the impact that our provision is already having on refugees in Liverpool, and we will continue to work with partners in the region to identify any additional support needs and ensure they have access to the right services at this critical time.”

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