Care home giant pledges to hire 500 Afghan refugees as carers

Cera has announced it is aiming to recruit, train and employ the refugees, who will be among 20,000 to be resettled in the UK over several years

A Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary unit (MEU) passes out water to evacuees at Kabul Airport

One of the UK’s largest home care providers has pledged to train up and employ 500 refugees from Afghanistan as carers.

Over the next five years Cera aims to recruit, train and employ 500 refugees who come to the UK as part of its resettlement programme amid the crisis in Afghanistan.

The start-up uses technology to bring people services such as social care, nursing and repeat prescriptions in their own home, carrying out more than 30,000 visits each day.

It will work with more than 160 local councils and the Government to train new arrivals.

Ben Maruthappu, Cera co-founder and chief executive, said finding employment is “yet another significant obstacle to overcome” for many people starting a new life after being displaced by conflict.

He continued: “Over the next five years, our goal is to support them in this journey by offering a pathway into not only gainful employment, but an enormously rewarding career in one of the UK’s most important sectors.

“We’ll be working with those councils we are already in partnership with, as well as the government more broadly, to reach out to those affected and who are eligible for these roles.

“If we can play even a small role in helping those arriving from Afghanistan, that’s an opportunity we’re keen to grasp with both hands.”

The initiative follows similar support during the coronavirus pandemic, when Cera retrained staff in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality and retail, into healthcare roles.

It also comes amid significant workforce issues in the social care sector, with Skills for Care estimating that there are around 112,000 vacancies on any given day.

Tory ministers announced plans last week to help Afghans fleeing the Taliban – but the offer was called “woefully inadequate” by one of their own MPs.

Around 20,000 of the refugees are set to be given sanctuary in the UK over the coming years.

The Home Office has been accused of failing to act quickly enough after it revealed that only 5,000 Afghans facing persecution would be relocated in the first year.

It will leave thousands of vulnerable people at risk of violent recrimination.

The scheme will be separate to the ARAP policy, which relocates Afghans who are already identified as having helped British forces. Those under the refugee scheme will likely have to escape Afghanistan themselves, then apply from a refugee camp.

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