EPIC is a free employment programme targeting asylum seekers and refugees under BITCI’s Business Action on Employment Programmes. It provides 6 weeks of training, including workshops on CV and Cover Letter writing, interview preparation, mock interviews, networking opportunities and more. 70% of EPIC participants have found jobs or entered training or are volunteering.
This year, our EPIC workshops were attended by approximately 160 people and our training sessions were attended by approximately 130 people.
LinkedIn teamed up with EPIC in Spring 2021 under the leadership of Victoria Pairet, Social Impact Programme Manager at LinkedIn. The partnership is unique in the sense that LinkedIn is offering a variety of services designed to holistically engage EPIC participants with the platform. They have been delivering comprehensive presentations to every EPIC group since the beginning of March 2021 providing expert advice on how to create and maintain a LinkedIn profile that attracts potential employers drawing from LinkedIn data, as well as highlighting networking and upskilling features. The participants also benefited from a Q&A with Victoria Pairet and Hugo Oliveira, Co-Lead Social Impact at LinkedIn.
The feedback has been nothing but positive which is remarkable given that LinkedIn-literacy varies greatly among EPIC participants. Some come to the course without having a profile on the platform while others are avid LinkedIn users. So far, Victoria and Hugo have delivered 12 sessions with this year’s EPIC groups and have resulted in participants feeling much more confident in their LinkedIn use.
Hugo Oliveira on EPIC: “You get to meet brilliant minds from different parts of the world, amazing, kind people. To me, there’s no such feeling like knowing you were able to help someone out and hopefully made an impact – even if a small one – in a person’s journey. Every session is unique, every story is fantastic and every journey is such a lesson. I found out that one of my colleagues – whom I’ve been working with for the last 2 years – is actually an EPIC program alumna. She’s one of the best people I’ve worked with in my role, and it just made me proud of the work EPIC s doing and that we’re able to partner up and give people more chances to achieve their goals.”
In addition to the workshops, LinkedIn offers one-to-one coaching sessions to each EPIC participant. Volunteers from LinkedIn are matched with EPIC participants and meet up to discuss their LinkedIn profile, suggest improvements and give overall tips on how to use the platform. Over 130 EPIC participants have benefited from this coaching opportunity this year.
One participant commented: “My coach gave me suggestions of courses according to my career goals. He also evaluated my LinkedIn profile and gave me some tips to improve it even more” and “My trainer was very friendly and patient. I’m new to LinkedIn and he gave me a lot of information about the platform and how to use it. It was very useful.”
Olga Montiel, EPIC career counsellor who coordinates the LinkedIn coaching sessions says that all her clients had a great experience with their coaches and were able to discover new features on LinkedIn that they hadn’t known about before as well as learn how to network successfully. “Some had fears to even have a LinkedIn profile, the coaches helped them to overcome that fear and develop a good standard profile.”
The combination of workshops and customized one-to-one support has proven hugely beneficial for EPIC participants. The cherry on top of their engagement with EPIC is that LinkedIn offers each person who participated in the workshops a free 1 year LinkedIn Premium licence.