The absence of childcare for the children of Ukrainian refugees is the "biggest barrier" to them working in Ireland, it has been claimed.
Empower, based in Finglas, north Dublin, has turned its headquarters into a centre for Ukrainian refugees since the war began two months.
Its social inclusion manager, Felix Gallagher, said it provides a playroom for the children of Ukrainian refugees so they can prepare themselves for the Irish jobs markets.
He said that without the playroom, the refugees, who are mostly women, would not be able to do training courses or English language classes to prepare them for the Irish workplace.
Empower has been dealing with the hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who are currently staying the Travelodge and Crowne Plaza hotels in Dublin 15. Most are women and children who have arrived without husbands or partners who have stayed behind in Ukraine.
He said they are trying to make the best of traumatic circumstances. “They are survivors essentially. They are putting a smile on their faces and getting on with it. A lot of them are natural leaders and speak English.”
Empower has already taken on one Ukrainian refugee as an employee.
Yulia Kavetska fled Lviv in western Ukraine at the start of the war with her son Dimitri (nine). She is currently staying at the Travelodge Hotel.
“I didn’t expect people here to be as conscious of the war as they are,” she said.
“Everybody is really open and trying to help us. People are very supportive and supply us with everything.”
Online marketplace eBay hosted an open day at its Blanchardstown campus in Dublin for locally based refugees. They were given information on how to put together a CV, interview skills workshops and the local Penneys gave away thousands of items from its local store.
Siobhan Curtin, eBay Ireland site leader, said it has jobs available in its Irish operations, but other employers locally also had vacant positions.
“The jobs we have today are a mixture of entry-level roles and technical roles. We have a number of global roles that can be located in Ireland. We want people to settle into the community,” she said.
“We have found there is a real level of fluency within some people in the Ukrainian community. We’d love other employers in the community to come and join us.”
Sean Quinn of facilities management firm Apleona said Ukrainian refugees were entering an Irish jobs market that was very healthy with labour shortages in cleaning, construction, catering and the physical maintenance of buildings.
He said fluent English was important in “client-facing roles”, but for those who were not fluent a good attitude could help. He added that they are happy to find suitable positions to work around the issue of fluency in English.