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BCHA helps young asylum seekers to build a future

Leading employability and skills provider BCHA is helping a group of unaccompanied teenagers who fled Afghanistan and Iraq to build a safe and successful future in the UK.

The six young men aged between 15 and 18, left the security of their families to escape economic hardship and tough political regimes in their home countries and are now living under the supervision and support of Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council, while they apply for refugee status.

BCHA is helping the youngsters to build their skills and confidence and prepare them to enter further education and work, through its Steps2Success programme.

TAKING STEPS2SUCCESS - Leading employability and skills provider BCHA is helping a group of unaccompanied teenagers from Afghanistan and Iraq under the care of BCP Council, to build a safe and successful future in the UK through its Steps2Success programme. Pictured: the boys with their interpreter Shawgar Abbas (left) and Sarah Hopkins of BCHA Learn.


Val Jefferies, Project Manager at BCHA Learn, said: “Steps2Success is designed to help young people who are not in education or work by giving them a wide range of experiences and skills, including basic cooking, horticulture and the practical support they need for entry into employment.

“Our course tutors are adapting Steps2Success to fit the needs of this particular group of young people and together with identifying their existing skills and support needs, we are improving their knowledge of their local area, helping them integrate into their new home and giving them a head start on their education. This, together with English language classes and one-to-one coaching to boost their confidence, will set them on a steady path towards employment.”

BCHA provides learning and training opportunities for hundreds of people each year, supporting people into employment, volunteering and further education.

Val continued: “The Steps2Success course tutors have been greatly impressed by the group’s willingness to learn and succeed.

“Some of these young people have been through terrifying experiences for their tender years. But all are communicative and intelligent and have clear plans for their future, starting with confirmed places in further education starting this September. They just need the right support to achieve this and we are very pleased to offer that.”

Sajid, 16, wants to be a doctor and is looking forward to starting Bournemouth & Poole College in September, where like most of the group he will be studying on the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course.

He said: “The BCHA course is very good and the tutors are kind. After ESOL I hope to take my GCSEs, A Levels and then go into medicine. It is a dream of mine and I am determined to succeed.”

Arian, 17, wants to be a mechanic and said he is finding the course helpful: “It is improving my English very much and now I want to take a bigger step and push myself further with my English studies.”

The younger members of the group are being hosted by local families, with the older boys living in supported lodging.

Naibullah, 15, is the youngest member of the group. He said: “I am living with a very kind family. The teachers are also very nice and I am making new friends.”

Blund, 18, from Iraq, wants to train as a police officer after attaining the required qualifications.

He said: “I want to help people and keep them safe.”

Steps2Success is open to 16-24 year-old residents of BCP who are not in full time education or employment. For more details visit

Media information: Debbie Granville on 07884 657782 e:

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