Collaborating to upskill Ukrainian refugees

Collaborating to upskill Ukrainian refugees

Most of the people forced to leave their homes after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine are women, children and the elderly.

In the area around Beaconsfield, where Formative has its office, 33 hosts have taken in 81 refugees, with another 10 due to arrive soon. Among those settling into the community are a veterinary scientist, a yoga expert and a graphic designer.

How to utilise those skills and find appropriate work was the topic of an employment workshop hosted by Formative and Better Connected Beaconsfield. More than 20 Ukrainian women came together for the session, chaired by Formative’s founder and chief executive, Gay Flashman.

Narmina Strishenets, herself the team lead for comms and advocacy at UN Women now living in the area, explained how work in the UK varies, and what remote opportunities are likely to be available. Then long-time British resident and Ukrainian, Oksana Skora, mapped out ways to find jobs locally, Meta’s Erin Wayman shared insights on building a LinkedIn profile, and HR consultant Lucy Barrett – who is hosting a family herself – offered tips on writing and honing a CV.

LinkedIn has become more than a digital CV tool, and is now a powerful social and professional network that can connect job seekers and recruiters directly. This can be harnessed to build a network, showcase credentials, specific skills and references, and to demonstrate your personal brand, Erin Wayman told the delegates.

Yulia Johnson Fedorenko – who has lived in the UK for some years, but has family lin Kyiv – translated and presented on confidence, Elizabeth Rumsey, a global senior product manager at Vodafone Business was on hand for interview coaching, while Rouse’s Sucheta Thomas led a lively debate on taxation.

The women at the event represent a small proportion of those that are seeking safety and assistance after being displaced.

More than 6 million people have left Ukraine, according to the UN data as of 16 May, with around 3.4 million going to neighbouring Poland and 900,000 to Romania. Around 46,100 visa-holders have made it to the UK, according to Home Office data, 19,500 via the Ukraine Family Scheme and 26,600 via the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

Number of refugees from Ukraine crossing Central and Eastern European borders after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from February 24 to May 15. Source: Statista


While the numbers at this event represent a small proportion of the total, the event was characterised by a community coming together, and this was evident in the informal sessions and in the breakout groups towards the end.

Attendees were invited to workshop with the speakers or to draft their CV and LinkedIn profile with the help of the Editorial Team’s Kate Whiting and Emma Charlton.

Working together, forging ties and tapping into the local community’s expertise sat at the heart of each session – something we hope to repeat again in the future.


About the author: Gay Flashman is the CEO and founder of Formative Content, and the author of ‘Powerful B2B Content – Using Brand Journalism to Create Compelling and Authentic Storytelling’. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Gay Flashman - CEO, Formative Content
Author:Gay Flashman - CEO, Formative Content