An ample information event meant to ease Romanians' path to integration in the British society
"Romani in UK" organisation hosted in London, Sunday, 22nd of May 2016 in Stanmore, Bernays Memorial Hall the third edition of "A helping Hand" seminar. The free information seminar was organised with the support of the local council Harrow, the Romanian Embassy in London, Harrow Law Centre and the Romanian Professionals Abroad Network ( RPRS).
Convinced that an informed community is a stronger community, Romani in UK team launched an invitation to representatives of Harrow Council, to the labour and social affairs attache from the Romanian Embassy in London, to Nicolae Daniel Popescu
( RPRS founder and manager at UK Naric) to join them for an ample information event meant to ease the path to integration in the British society for the Romanian community.
The seminar covered very important subjects for the Romanian community in London with the aim to encourage members of the community to find out as much as possible at a local level about society, about rules and rights, steps to take to ensure they are legal residents in the UK. At the same time an important subject presented in the seminar was how to better a migrants' life and key opportunities for a better career and job prospect.
In the opening of the event, Cristina Irimie, editorial director of Romani in UK organisation and CEO of the recruitment and consultancy company Brit-Ro, who sponsored the event, thanked the guests and speakers for the support offered in making the seminar possible.
Present as speakers on behalf of the local authorities were Bary Kendler, local councillor in Harrow representing the Labour party, Pamela Fitzpatrick- director of Harrow Law Centre and a local councillor in Harrow Council, Parmjit Chahal – Head of Service Children and Family Services, Harrow Council) and Cristina Poplauschi ( social worker at Harrow Council ).
Delighted to directly meet the Romanian community in Harrow, to inform the community, to offer help and to invite the community to talk- this would be in short the message the council representatives sent in their speeches.
Harrow Law Centre's director spoke to the audience about the services provided by a Law Centre free of charge which are of interest to European citizens, mentioning the rights Romanians have and might not be aware of. Pamela Fitzpatrick explained to the Romanians present at the seminar the importance of having a good representation in cases in which their rights they are entitled to are refused and that the services offered by Harrow Law Centre are free of charge.
As such the Romanians of Harrow found out information about rights to social benefits, EU Social Security Co-ordination Schemes, import and export of social benefits, education law, residence, community care, housing and Judicial reviews.
Harrow Law Centre expressed its interest to continue to inform the Romanian community in Harrow through Romani in UK, repeating information sessions in the near future.
Local councillor Barry Kendler wanted to address the Romanian community in Harrow because it is his belief that it is important for Romanians to learn and understand the role of local councillors and the help a local councillor can offer the residents in his ward. Mr. Kendler represents Edgware ward, an area with a large number of Romanian residents. He knows many of the problems they face and wants to support them but cannot do so if he is not asked for help.
The councillor talked about one of the biggest problems faced by Romanian workers: renting and living in overcrowded accommodation where very often rooms are being sublet. He described the legislation regulating rentals and the multiple occupancy license requirements. Knowing that most Romanians rent houses from private landlords, often at very high prices, the councillor knows that often people share accommodation. Mr. Kendler explained the dangerous risks to which people expose themselves if they live in houses which are overcrowded and are not fit for multiple occupancy and asked people to come forward and report such landlords as letting houses which are not fit for purpose and which do not meet the multiple occupancy licencing requirements is a criminal offence." Romanians are hard workers and they do not have time to raise issues " said the councillor who believes it is utterly important for Romanians to discuss with the council, to find out information about the services which they as residents have access to. The councillor offered the participants his contact details and explained the ways in which he can be contacted.
Mrs. Parmjit Chahal, Head of Service Children and Family Services, Harrow Council spoke about social services, the importance of child protection and the way social services operate. With a rarely seen warmth, she told the audience that she understands the path and difficulties encountered by migrants when they settle in Britain as the same issues and problems were encountered by her parents and relatives when they settled in Britain in the 60s. Parmjit Chahal explained the necessity of child protection, the complex legislation which surrounds child protection and the way in which social services work.
Following Mrs. Chahal's speech, Cristina Poplauschi presented the audience a success story where the social services helped a family overcome their issues and keep their children facilitating the family's integration in the local community. Aware that the role of the social services is not getting good publicity in press and international press relating to Romanian children being put in foster care, the two representatives of the social services department of Harrow Council managed to pass to the participants vital information for parents about the way in which social services operate in Britain and the importance of parents working together with the social workers when a case is being looked at.
The questions coming from the audience for the representatives of Harrow Council, the applause with which the speakers were thanked showed the importance of an open dialogue with the representantives of the local authorities.
After a short break in which the participants discussed with the organisers and speakers, the seminar continued with the Ileana Stanica's presentation. Ileana Stanica is the Labour and Social Affairs Attache at the Romanian Embassy in London.
Ileana reiterated the unconditional support offered by her office for the free seminars organized in the Romanian community and the importance of " A Helping hand " seminars for the Romanian community in the UK.
With an experience of over four years as the Labour and Social Affairs Attache at the Romanian Embassy in London, Ileana Stanica played an important role in solving problems encountered by Romanian nationals in the UK. Ileana Stanica is also very active and involved in informing the community, often using her weekends to travel in Romanian communities where she holds information events.
During this edition of the seminar, Ileana spoke about the rights of Romanian citizens in the UK, rights of employees, agency workers, self-employed, work related issues: right to the minimum wage, unfair dismissal, unpaid wages, exploitation, residency in the UK for EU nationals. Ileana Stanica also explained how her office in the Embassy is able to assist by providing advice and representation for Romanian citizens who have work related problems or have their rights denied.
Following Ileana's presentation Nicolae Daniel Popescu, mostly known to the Romanian community as " the Romanian who brought to the UK the automatic recognition of vocational qualifications from Romania" presented the procedures of Romanian diplomas recognition, methods for the capitalisation of vocational qualifications such as NVQs and the situations in which statements of comparability is helpful.
Expert in studies recognition at UK Naric and founder of the RPRS ( Romanian Professionals Abroad Network), Nicolae -Daniel Popescu brought to the attention of the participants the advantages of vocational qualifications from Romania which are directly compared to the same levels of NVQs in Britain , explaining also differences between the educational system in Romania and the UK.
The questions the audience addressed to Daniel Popescu reflect issues many Romanians face when working in areas that require accreditation and professional certificates.
Cristina Irimie, editorial director of Romani in UK organisation (owner of www.romani.co.uk, the online publication Roman in UK, Ghidul Romanului in UK), explained the steps to be followed to secure a good job, the role of a good CV in securing a job, how to act at a job interview, cultural differences.
Coming with practical advice supported by her extensive knowledge in recruitment, Cristina Irimie provided in her presentation a guide for the Romanian jobseeker at the very beginnings in the UK but also in case of career change. Her concise and pragmatic advice coming from experience is considered by many Romanians as inspirational. "Give up misconceptions and try to firstly understand the local culture and the way in which people live here, which might in many respects be very different from Romania." She said.
Cristina Irimie has a track record of ten years with Romani in UK organisation, being at the same time the CEO of an important recruitment and consulting business with offices in the UK and Romania.
At the end of her presentation Cristina Irimie advised the participants not to give up their dreams in career, in life and not to accept being exploited as migrants, settling for less because "in this country everything is achievable if you truly want it".
Daniel Furculesteanu, adult education trainer spoke about success and career investment for a better life.
Daniel has 8 years experience as a trainer in Human resources for a multinational company and is one of the Romanian professionals who studied in the UK and went back to Romania. After 9 years working for a multinational company in Romania he quit his job and came to join the recruitment and consulting SME Brit-Ro Consultancy.
In his speech Daniel talked about measuring success, the professional path of a migrant in the UK and the importance of professional adult education for a better pay and a better quality of life.
Daniel Furculesteanu presented as well the sectors with skills shortage and lack of qualified workers and professionals in which employability chances are high, offering participants tips about jobs and sectors in which they can get decent wages.
At the end of the seminar, which was very well attended, both speakers and attendees appreciated the format of the event, the content and great benefit the seminar brought the participants. The seminar was very well received and there is a keen interest for the free information sessions to continue as they represent a very good tool for the dialogue between the local communities and the Romanians settling in.