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What is an innovative charity partnership?

One of our most holistic partnerships is with Cummins Inc., who are passionate about supporting people of a refugee background into meaningful work.


Breaking Barriers

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Breaking Barriers believes in the power of responsible business to change society for the better but what does an innovative corporate partnership look like?

One of our most holistic partnerships is with Cummins Inc., a global power company who are passionate about supporting people of a refugee background across Europe into meaningful work. Cummins Inc. are supporting us in a variety of exciting ways by:

  • Funding our employment programmes
  • Hiring our refugee clients
  • Volunteering
  • Facilitating thought leadership events
  • Sponsoring our documentary – My (Refugee) Life.

Through generous grants from The Cummins Foundation, in 2022 they enabled us to support 314 clients as well as offer over 1500 hours of one-to-one employment advice. And with their continued support, we hope to be able to increase this impact by 2024.

The Cummins Foundation are also funding us to develop a comprehensive employment training programme designed to give our refugee clients a strong base of knowledge and digital skills, whilst also enabling us to standardise our support across the UK. Crucially, thanks to our partnership, we are able to expand our training programme volunteering pool and improve our monitoring and evaluation of client progression.

After piloting different job roles, and by building a great collaborative relationship with their hiring managers, we are delighted that Cummins Inc. have now hired two Breaking Barriers clients into life-changing full-time roles. Read below to hear from Anas, a former BB client, and from Simon, a manager at Cummins Inc., about the impact of this partnership and their Engineering return-to-work scheme ‘RePower’:

The opportunity I have from Cummins to join the Repower program has substantially impacted my health, knowledge, and family. It allowed me to enter the engineering industry after a two-year gap in my career journey. During the first weeks, it took a lot of work to understand what surrounded me since Cummins is a vast international company. Moreover, this is the first time I have worked in an engineering manufacturing company. But day by day and after doing research, asking my colleagues questions and getting training, I am starting to understand most of the work and the new atmosphere. And now that I have enhanced my skills and knowledge, I am ready to lead a project.

Anas, Breaking Barriers client

Simon, who is managing a Breaking Barriers client said: “Cummins Re-Power and Breaking Barriers care about Diversity and Inclusion, and collectively connecting people that might otherwise be overlooked with a deserving opportunity to build a career at Cummins. The returnship offered a Breaking Barriers client the platform to demonstrate his skills, capability and commitment. The team recognised and valued their differences and continuously used those differences to deliver superior results. After a successful returnship, he is now a full-time employee at Cummins. I’m so proud of what he’s achieved and his ongoing commitment to personal development. He is a shining example of what success looks like on our RePower program in collaboration with Breaking Barriers.”

Cummins staff have also generously given their time to volunteer for Breaking Barriers by being mentors to our refugee clients and through delivering employability skills workshops. Cummins host a very successful workshop on ‘Understanding Company Values’ where, of the survey respondents in 2022/2023, 100% of the clients said that it was very successful/successful in helping them improve their professional skills and 100% of the volunteers said they would recommend volunteering with Breaking Barriers to others.

Finally, Cummins Inc. are part of our Business Behind Refugees movement which unites businesses who are committed to improving the lives of refugees in the UK through meaningful employment. We really appreciate the Cummins Inc. team advocating for our refugee clients and their continued support of our thought leadership events. For example, Emily Johnson, Director of Europe Corporate Responsibility, recently shared her valuable insights at our 2023 Refugee Week webinar ‘Bringing refugees to the forefront of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conversations’ which had over 100 attendees from the business community.

Our relationship with Breaking Barriers began as most of our community partnerships begin, with our employees volunteering to support BB’s work. After volunteering with BB, our employees immediately became passionate about other ways we could help support BB’s clients and mission. My advice for business looking to support refugees into employment would be to find a partner that has expertise and whom you trust. For us, that was what we found in Breaking Barriers. The trusted and open relationship that we have had has enabled us to iterate our approach and learn as we work to be an employer of choice for people from refugee background.

Emily Johnson, Director of Europe Corporate Responsibility

We are excited to see how this partnership develops and how we can facilitate more refugees into meaningful employment!

If you would like to find out more about corporate partnerships and how Breaking Barriers can support you to increase your organisation’s social impact, please contact [email protected]

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