Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has demonstrated its commitment to supporting refugees in finding sustainable employment and successfully integrating into life in the UK as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, by joining the Tent Partnership for Refugees.
Grant Thornton joins over 25 other major businesses including Virgin Management, Bloomberg, BNP Paribas, and Woolworths Group, in committing to including refugees. Founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, the CEO of Chobani - the number one US Greek yoghurt company - Tent is a network of over 120 major businesses committed to improving the livelihoods of refugees around the world by integrating them in their core business operations.
Grant Thornton is committed to clearly highlighting the opportunities, rather than the challenges, for refugees. The firm was the first corporate partner to co-host an employability workshop with refugee support charity, Breaking Barriers, which focused on confidence building, skills development, and provided advice on working culture in the UK. The firm also provided the charity’s first full-time refugee placement in its Talent Solutions team, which gave the candidate enough confidence to find a permanent role in the education sector. More recently, Grant Thornton became Breaking Barriers’ first corporate partner to host a virtual employability workshop during the pandemic. The firm also welcomed its first employee hire following successful completion of a refugee work placement through Breaking Barriers.
The firm also works with Business in the Community to provide one-to-one mentoring and events which offer insight into finding work within the accountancy sector. Through these efforts, since 2018, the firm has supported more than 100 refugees, helping them prepare for employment, and has been named a Responsible Business Champion.
Karen Higgins, Head of Sustainability, Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented: “We are delighted to become a member of the Tent Partnership. Sustainability sits at the heart of our business and by using our skills and talent, we are committed to supporting refugees into meaningful employment.
“By drawing on the expertise of charities, such as Breaking Barriers, and the commitment of our people in volunteering their time and experience at workshops and events, we have been able to provide over 100 refugees with valuable insight into UK working culture and the accountancy sector in particular.
“But we know there’s always more we can do. We’re committed to sharing our story and recognise the value that a more diverse and inclusive workforce, which includes refugees, can provide to any organisation. Joining Tent will allow us to engage with like-minded businesses focused on providing opportunity and a more sustainable future for refugees in the UK, during the pandemic and beyond.”
Hamdi Ulukaya said: “It’s encouraging to see so many companies stepping forward at a time of crisis to show that refugees are needed on the road to rebuild our businesses and strengthen our communities. When given the chance, refugees will make your companies stronger and better. But it’s up to us to open the door and provide the opportunity.”
The announcement was made during a virtual event hosted by Mr. Ulukaya and moderated by Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC June Sarpong. It featured the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Imagine CEO and former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman; EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson; Executive Chairman of Empath and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez; former French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; and global leads for diversity and inclusion at L’Oreal, Sodexo, and Barilla.
For more information about the companies joining Tent today and their existing projects to support refugees, visit www.tent.org/members.