John Lewis hosts recruitment fair to support refugees

A recruitment day held by the John Lewis Partnership to support refugees in and around Milton Keynes has proved a success, the retailer has reported.

The event was organised to help people who’ve fled conflict, with translators and expert recruitment advice.

The Partnership is currently recruiting for a range of roles across John Lewis and Waitrose stores and office-based and distribution roles – like engineering technicians, drivers and warehouse teams.

From July, the company will also be recruiting hundreds of temporary roles in stores and distribution centres, in preparation for a busy trading period.

As well as sharing details of opportunities within the Partnership, experts at the event gave practical advice from interview tips to guidance on how to get the most from CVs and LinkedIn profiles.

One attendee, Anastasiia Svystun, moved to the UK from Sumy, Ukraine. Just 40km from the Russian border, the town had previously been occupied by the Russian military.

Anastasiia said: “People in the UK have been so friendly and understanding. I arrived in the UK at the end of April, so this is my first time at a job fair.

“Back in Ukraine, I worked for a big company ­– and everyone felt like a big family. It feels similar to that today. I’ve spoken to people to get advice and information – it’s been really helpful.”

Also among the attendees were Olena Haiduk (an artist) and Yuliia Pavlovska (an accountant and seamstress), originally from Dnipro in central Ukraine.

Olena said: “As an artist, I’m happy that I can continue my work here, sharing my work and culture with a new audience. But I’m also keen to find another job.

“Today has been great. We spoke with lots of people about job opportunities with really positive feedback. People have been very kind; very helpful and all smiles.”

Vicki Horne, Resourcing Manager for the John Lewis Partnership, who organised the event, said: “The turnout was brilliant. We met great people, each with their own backgrounds and experiences. It cemented just how important finding employment work can be for people who’ve fled such difficult situations. Their stories are so moving, and we’re hard at work to match candidates with rewarding roles.”

The JLP worked with the Department of Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus and the RFEA, The Forces Employment Charity, to reach as many local refugees as possible, and also opened the event to the wider public.