More than 220 people have found work in Thessaloniki with the support of SolidarityNow

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

37 companies recruited beneficiaries of the organization’s Employability Service

Thessaloniki, June 11, 2019

“I just signed my contract today and I’m very happy. All the happiness on my face is thanks to you” – Linda, 40 years old from Cameroon, beneficiary of the Blue Refugee Center’s Employability Service who found a job in Thessaloniki.

Work, Confidence, Independence, Safety, Integration, and Acceptance are some of the new words learned in Greek by migrants and refugees who come to seek help and employment support at SolidarityNow’s Blue Refuge Center in Thessaloniki.

In line with SolidarityNow’s overall aim to support the integration and empowerment of refugees and migrants, despite the country’s economic instability and weak labor market, the Employability & Work Counseling Service at SolidarityNow’s Blue Refugee Center* in Thessaloniki succeeded in connecting migrant groups to the Greek labor market. Specifically, in the three years of the Service’s operation, 223 people have found work based on their skills, knowledge, experience and aspirations. Furthermore, 37 companies that collaborated with the organization, hired people who have been among the Employability Service’s beneficiaries.

“SolidarityNow’s Employability Service was designed based on the needs of people visiting our Centers. Our aim is to highlight and strengthen the different skills, as well as the cognitive and cultural background of our beneficiaries, so that they can respond to their new life”, notes Ioanna Fourkiotou, Director of SolidarityNow’s activities in Northern Greece and continues: “Most important of all is that this effort has been embraced by many companies and employers who have shown social sensitivity and hired these people, giving them a second chance in life”.

SolidarityNow wants to thank the companies and employers who have turned their social responsibility into practice and have collaborated with the organization’s Employability Service. We believe – and we are working towards this direction – that in the near future we will see even more companies responding and developing synergies as an integral part of their Corporate Social Responsibility and their recruitment policy.

Since 2016, a great alliance has been achieved among different stakeholders. And the heart of this alliance is in the heart of SolidarityNow’s activities in Thessaloniki, the Blue Refugee Center:

  • 839 people have sought professional counseling; of them, 223 have found a job. Specifically:
  • 17 women, and
  • 206 men
  • from 29 different countries

found work, mainly in the sectors of tourism and food service, but also as manual labor workers and interpreters.

  • 37 cooperating companies recruited the Service’s beneficiaries.

All these were made possible through 2812 individual counseling sessions,

28 group training sessions and 3 thematic workshops.

“But above all”, as the Center’s employability team underlines “our beneficiaries believed in themselves and in their strength and started seeing life more optimistically”.

The inclusion of refugees and migrants in the Greek labor market and more broadly in the Greek society is a process with many difficulties -legal and bureaucratic- and therefore time-consuming. Furthermore, their lack of knowledge of the Greek language and the cultural differences coupled with high unemployment and discrimination are considerable barriers to entry to the labor market. However, these barriers are not insurmountable. SolidarityNow, through its Solidarity Centers and all its programs in Athens, Thessaloniki and Ioannina, as well as its specialized staff, strives to find a solution to all these difficulties and create the conditions for equal access and equal opportunities at work for Everyone.

*The Blue Refugee Center is supported by UNHCR GREECE and funded by EU.