"It's a great opportunity": Syrian refugee forging new career with Burnley company

Ammar (right) with one of his colleagues.
Ammar (right) with one of his colleagues.
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After fleeing one of the most violent conflicts in the world, a Syrian refugee has forged a career in Burnley with a local construction company having been supported by The Calico Group.

With the conflict in Syria having escalated from a peaceful protest against the country's leader, Bashar al-Assad, in 2011 into a civil war which has killed more than 350,000 people, Ammar Hussein (33) dreamed of making it to the UK with his family to forge a better and safer life, which they were able to do in 2016.

A plasterer by trade, Ammar landed the opportunity to have a week’s work experience at Ring Stone Maintenance and Construction - part of The Calico Group - and showed 'incredible willing to engage with the workforce, practise his skills, and apply his knowledge on his work experience', eventually being named General Operative.

“It’s a great opportunity that I have been given to work at Ring Stones Maintenance and Construction," said Ammar, who now has the invaluable chance to be self-sufficient for himself and his family. "It is a job that is a new challenge for me as well as learning and enhancing my English speaking on site with my new colleagues.”

Having worked with the Home Office and Lancashire County Council on Ammar's case, Calico Homes’ Floating Support department ensure families settle in the area and offers support with integration and education, offering help and advice about employment through Calico Careers, who find job openings for individuals.

Now working on the Ring Stones and Calico Homes’ development Brunshaw Maisonettes and attending regular well-being meetings to ensure he is settling in, learning effectively, and enhancing his skills and English, Ammar is thriving.

“Ammar really impressed me on his work placement week; he has a great work ethic and gets on well with the other operatives on site," said Andrew Herbert, Head of Regeneration and Ammar’s Line Manager at Ring Stones.

“He got his job off his own merit and it’s clear to see how beneficial a full-time and stable term of employment will be for Ammar and his family, and this is something I would like to help and support similar individuals that are interested in construction in the future if the opportunity is there," Andrew added.