Bridges Programmes, United Kingdom, South Western Scotland
Bridges Programmes is a specialist not for profit organisation working for the last 12 years with those for whom English is a second language including refugees, migrants and the settled BME communities (Black and Minority Ethnic) to develop and facilitate their economic and social integration through a variety of work based interventions. These include work placements, employer engagement to foster anti discrimination practices in the work place, awareness raising training and support, recognition of prior experience and learning, empowerment and life skills support and a ten step employability programme. Bridges is the only specialist agency working exclusively in refugee and migrant employability in Scotland and our core service is commissioned by the Scottish Government.The training which Bridges Programmes delivers for its beneficiaries is subject to Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) accreditation Bridges Programmes has been working on European transnational activity for ten years. Bridges is recognised as an example of Best Practice in this sector both in the UK and in Europe. Bridges has been working in partnership with various Colleges of Further Education across the city of Glasgow which is home to the largest group on non native English speakers in Scotland, to develop a range of programmes to take people closer to the labour market or into further education or vocational training for the target group. In particular we have developed a unique methodology of working closely with employers in growth sectors of the Scottish economy to develop bespoke practice accredited short English language courses which are sector specific and which prepare the beneficiary for a successful work placement enhancing job outcomes. In some sectors including social care the close relationship with employers has meant 70% of beneficiaries have entered the labour market in these sectors.
Bridges is unique in the migrant employability sector in its approach to working closely with employers and we are experts in employer engagement, sharing that knowledge and expertise widely in other ares of Scotland the UK and in parts transnational activities.
Maggie Lennon - Director and founder of the Bridges Programmes for 12 years, responsible for service development and strategic developments within the organisation and creating strategic partnerships including with mainstream agencies. Formerly co-Chair of New Roots Scotland a multi agency task force asked by the Scottish Government to draft the Education Employment and Training review of the Scottish government Refugee Integration plan which has led directly to the current developments in Scotland forming the recognition centre for overseas workers. Has led Bridges in 10 years of transnational activity in four partnerships, including chairing work groups and has previously represented the Scotland Region on a Transnational Learning partnership (IMPART) looking at fostering anti discrimination activities in the work place. Co-Writer of two suites of qualifications for people working with asylum seekers and refugees. Experienced Peer reviewer and evaluator of European projects. Seconded in 2010 to Commission of Integration and Migration of the Berlin Senate to draft mainstreaming strategy of IMPART learning network ad in 2014 to the European Council for Refugees and Exiles in Brussels to develop an Employer Engagement strategy for the organisation.
Amanda Crawford - joined Bridges in January 2013. Responsible for training support across sectors and up-skilling and re-training routes including overseeing suite of Bridges vocational ESOL programmes, Bridges Employability programmes benchmarking, recruiting and sign-posting clients into employment or education. Responsible for development and implementation of Bridges Programmes workplacement/work experience/internship methodologies. Advice and guidance specialist involved in developing materials for awareness raising training and anti-discrimination support for employers.
Elizabeth Porter - Over 23 years experience in employability with groups far from the work place and 8 years specific experience working with migrants and refugees. A Senior Bridges team member on employer engagement responsible for recruiting employers to support Bridges clients and development, and on advice and guidance. Experience and participation in two previous transnational partnerships.
Elena Sillich - Native Russian speaking caseworker with Bridges for six years, currently specialising in the integration and support of women beneficiaries. Responsible for development and implementation of Bridges Programmes workplacement/work experience/internship methodologies. Liaison officer for our Social Care programme and coordinator of mentoring support programme. Experience and participation in one previous transnational partnership.