The aim is to give formal recognition and accreditation of the skills and qualifications of people from overseas in sectors including construction and engineering.
The initiative, which is being delivered by Glasgow Caledonian University, is designed to support employers by helping migrants transfer training gained in other countries into UK-recognised qualifications. The scheme has already helped 40 migrants and refugees. Another 40 people are expected to take part in 2019/20 and the scheme will receive around £130,000 funding from the Scottish Government this year.
Dr Ima Jackson, project lead Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “People often think these types of projects are simply for the individual people who have come to Scotland with skills gained from outside of the UK – and of course on one level it is - but more importantly it is for Scotland as a whole. It will help Scottish businesses large and small bring into their own companies the skills they need to develop and grow.
The lessons learned from the project will be studied to see if it can be rolled out across Scotland in due course.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “With all of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years projected to come from migration, we need to do all we can to ensure people who move to Scotland are able to realise their potential by accessing employment and addressing skills shortages, and allowing them to build their lives and raise their families here.
“This project will help to address skills shortages across some of our key sectors and remove some of the barriers migrants and refugees face when it comes to recognising overseas qualifications, skills and learning, by providing training and matching them with employers.”
Jackson added: “Having a formal process which supports the recognition of skills people bring helps employers demonstrate that their company incorporates the diversity of expertise within the people of Scotland - which increasingly reflects the diversity across the world. What a waste it would be not to have processes to recognise the skills, ambition and hope that people bring when they migrate.”
Participants in the project have included Mohamed Hassan, a qualified mechanical engineer from Sudan with experience of working in the petroleum industry. He said: “Despite my experience working in the oil and gas industry, over the last two years I’ve lived in Scotland, I haven’t been able to find a job in my industry. All I want is a job that will allow me to work at a level that I am qualified at. I have trained hard to be a professional engineer which involved studying at university. I want to continue my career in Scotland and I am looking for the chance to do that.”