A teenager who moved to Cumbria from war-torn Syria has secured herself permanent work, with support from a regional training provider.

Shireen Hama, 19, who moved to Carlisle in 2018, spoke limited English when she arrived in the country and as a result was unable to find work in the area. Her previous work skills in her home country weren’t transferable to England, while she held no UK qualifications. As a result, her confidence to work in a new country was low, creating multiple barriers to finding employment.

Shireen was claiming Job Seekers Allowance while she searched for a job, before she approached PHX Training for employment support via the European Social Fund Journey2Work programme.

With support from PHX Training in Carlisle, Shireen completed NVQ Level 2 courses in English as a Second Language, as well as training in customer service and retail skills.

As a result of completing the courses and developing her English ability, Shireen’s confidence grew significantly, and she secured an apprenticeship as a Customer Service Advisor at Carlisle City Council.

Helen Macnaughton, business manager at PHX Training, said: “It’s very hard to imagine just how difficult it must be to start a new life in a country where you have to learn the language, gain new qualifications and acclimatise to a new culture, all while searching for a new job.

“Shireen’s commitment and dedication to learning these new skills and finding permanent work has been exemplary and all the staff at PHX are delighted with her success. We will continue to support her development where needed and wish her all the success in her new job.”

PHX Training delivers government-backed initiatives, adult skills, NEET (not in education, employment or training), employability contracts, apprenticeships and work-based learning programmes.

The company specialises in apprenticeship qualifications in business administration skills, offering learners skills for roles such as office executive, office supervisor, membership administrator and personal administrator. Apprenticeships delivered by PHX also include team leading, customer service, hospitality, management and warehousing across the North West.

The PHX team of qualified trainers also offers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at six training centres in Barrow, Carlisle, Workington, Morecambe, Preston and Blackpool.


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