We have been delighted to work with Scottish Government this year, to support alumni from our Leadership programme to connect and network with employees from different departments at Scottish Government.

Shahid Khan, a Senior Policy Officer at Scottish Government who has lived refugee experience, worked with us, his colleagues and employer to open the doors for three months. The project was designed and delivered in partnership with Scottish Refugee Council and Scottish Government Refugee Allies Network. This mentoring project connected his colleagues with people seeking refugee protection in Scotland.

Over the course of the pilot project, mentors and mentees met three times for one-to-one sessions. The group also took part in a tour of Scottish Parliament, and came together at the end of the project for a networking and evaluation event.

The mentoring project was a great success. Not only was it an opportunity for our Leaders to gain insights into how Scottish Government works, but for Scottish Government employees to build their understanding of the issues facing people seeking refugee protection in Scotland.

Participants, both mentors and mentees, expressed that they felt the project was a great success, and that they wished it could go on for longer.

Comfort, one of our New Scots Leaders, said:

I want this to continue and not end, because this will bring a lot of beauty, diversity, and a lot of support. And Scottish Government need to learn from us aswell, as refugees. We need to learn from each other and know what’s going on in the world.

Rachael McLean, from Scottish Government, said,

I feel privileged to have been part of the recent pilot mentoring programme for refugees in Scotland. It was humbling to work closely with my partner from whom I learned a huge amount, including about the varied challenges and obstacles that refugees face when trying to integrate into a new country

Alison Byrne, Director for Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights and Scottish Government sponsor of the scheme said:

It is incredibly powerful for civil servants to spend time listening, sharing and talking to the New Scots on the scheme, who bring a different lived experience, and diverse and rich backgrounds, skills and knowledge.  This is vital to inform our policy development, and influence our thinking about what it is to be Scottish, as well as build lasting friendships and connections at all levels of the Scottish Government.

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah