Thursday 24 August 2023


The UK Government has announced the award of a major new contract to World Jewish Relief, working in partnership with the British Council, to provide support for UK-based Ukrainians who have fled the war in Ukraine. 

This groundbreaking scheme, awarded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), will enable the charities to offer up to 10,000 Ukrainians across the UK their trailblazing intensive English language and employment support courses to help them access the jobs market and achieve their ambitions whilst here in the UK. 

This joint programme is free of charge and delivered virtually. From listening to feedback from Ukrainian guests, we designed the courses to be online and accessible so that people with young children, caring responsibilities, or shift workers, can take part from anywhere in the UK.  

It comprises 10 weeks of daily English Online classes run by the British Council, and 12 weeks of employment support with a dedicated World Jewish Relief Employment Advisor, to assist with CV writing, job applications, interview prep, skills training and job search. This new support will make it easier for Ukrainians to live independent lives in the UK. 

To deliver the programme, World Jewish Relief will scale up its existing Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) which was launched in 2016 and supports 1,500 refugees in the UK every year on their journey into employment. 

World Jewish Relief was recognised in 2022 with a Charity Award for its Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP), and the award of the contract to deliver this significant programme serves as further recognition of its unique approach and impact. It will enable World Jewish Relief to reach thousands more UK-based Ukrainians with life-changing assistance. 

World Jewish Relief has been helping to save and support refugees for 90 years, having rescued 65,000 Jewish refugees from persecution in Nazi Europe, and we are unrelenting in our commitment to save and transform lives of people of all backgrounds today. We currently work in 19 disaster affected countries across the world, including most recently with our partners in Turkey and Syria, helping vulnerable people from marginalised communities, suffering the consequences of conflict and disaster to survive and thrive. 

The British Council will help to improve the students’ English skills, including their confidence in speaking the language, through its award-winning English Online course. Each student’s current level of English language proficiency will be assessed, followed by online English language classes and regular progress assessments.  

British Council’s English Online has been recognised in several prominent forums, most recently winning the EdTechX Mission-Driven Award 2023. 

As an organisation founded in 1934 as a bulwark against fascism, the British Council supports peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and worldwide. Over the past seven years the British Council has provided opportunities to learn English to over 100,000 displaced persons across the world.

An existing World Jewish Relief STEP client from Ukraine said of the support from their Employment Advisor:

“Working with you was a transformative experience for me. The tools and strategies provided by you empowered me to take control of my life”. 

The Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Felicity Buchan said: 

“Ukrainian Independence Day is a time to celebrate Ukrainian culture and traditions, as well as our shared values. It is also a sombre reminder of the need to continue to support our Ukrainian friends in their fight against Putin’s barbaric invasion. We continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.   

“These new English Language and Employment support courses add to the package of wider government support in place to help Ukrainians find work and settle into our communities while it’s not safe to return to Ukraine.” 

Chief Executive of the British Council, Scott McDonald, said: 

“We are delighted to be partnering with World Jewish Relief to deliver this critical programme.  

For many Ukrainians, escaping war and travelling to the UK will only be the first step on a long road to a new life. At the British Council, we know that learning English unlocks life changing opportunities, both in the UK and around the globe.  

We look forward to combining our considerable expertise in delivering world-class online English language learning with the excellent specialist training and employment support provided by World Jewish Relief to benefit Ukrainian people in the UK.” 

Chief Executive of World Jewish Relief, Paul Anticoni, said:  

“I am especially proud that World Jewish Relief, working in partnership with the British Council, has been appointed to deliver this crucial programme for Ukrainians in the UK. It’s a ringing endorsement of the unique talent and expertise we have within the team at World Jewish Relief as well as the close working relationships we have built with our partners on the ground in Ukraine over the last 30 years.” 

World Jewish Relief is inviting Ukrainians who are over 18 in the UK to join the programme by registering today at or calling their freephone on 0800 319 6089. 

Notes to Editor

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021-22 we reached 650 million people. 

At the British Council, English language teaching, learning and assessment are at the heart of what we do. We champion the power of English to break down barriers and help millions of learners grow their skills, build international connections, and access life-changing opportunities. Our free English learning and teaching resources are used by millions of people around the world. 

The British Council was recently awarded the Mission-Driven Award at The edtechX Awards 2023 in recognition of its British Council English Online courses for adult learners around the world with 24/7 access to 1-2-1 and group classes. This transformative portfolio of courses brings the world of English to the fingertips of students worldwide, giving them the freedom to select their learning preferences and to connect with teachers and students, anytime and from anywhere. 

In 2022/23, the British Council and Ukrainian Institute partnered to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Ukraine, helping to strengthen and build cultural connections between both countries, while providing new platforms and opportunities for Ukrainian artists to connect with the UK. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, the season’s theme was ‘Future Re-Imagined’, focusing on the changed needs and priorities of the Ukrainian sector, giving a voice to Ukrainian creatives, both in the UK and online. 

The British Council has supported English language learning and teaching in Ukraine for 30 years. Most recently they have worked with over 1,500 refugee English teachers from Ukraine, teachers affected by conflict in Ukraine, and teachers from Romania, Poland, and other host countries with displaced Ukrainians in their classes. These teachers have taken part in Teaching and Learning in Difficult Times, a course delivered in Warsaw, Krakow, and Bucharest, that helps them understand their student’s trauma and how to help them cope, so that learning can continue successfully in the most challenging of circumstances.

About World Jewish Relief.   

World Jewish Relief works in 19 disaster affected countries and 23 towns in the UK, helping vulnerable people from marginalised communities, suffering the consequences of conflict and disaster to survive and thrive.  

World Jewish Relief was appointed to deliver this programme after a fair and open competitive procurement process.  

World Jewish Relief draws upon more than 30 years of experience working in Ukraine, where their unparalleled access and reach across Ukraine, amongst people from all communities and backgrounds, and their close working relationships with their partners on the ground has enabled them to support the most at-risk - especially those under fire, the displaced and the elderly. 

Through their Ukraine Crisis Appeal they have reached over 236,000 people in 224 towns and cities across Ukraine with emergency relief and long-term support since February 2022. 

Since the war 16,500+ displaced Ukrainians in Moldova, Poland and the UK have been supported to learn languages and find employment. 

The award-winning Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP) serves 1,000+ refugees each year achieving a 40% employment rate and of those 95% have sustained job outcomes (6 months+).

The STEP Ukraine service (since April 2022) has supported 500 Ukrainians in the UK with a 46% employment rate and highly skilled job outcomes. 

For media queries, please contact Jeremy Rosenberg on behalf of World Jewish Relief at Tel: 07789 922 518