Diversity and Relational Perspectives
Edited by Katerina Nicolopoulou, Mine Karataş-Özkan, Ahu Tatli and John Taylor
Chapter 6: The Important Role of Refugee and Migrant Community Organizations in Bringing Out Highly Educated Refugees’ Potential as Knowledge Workers
Maria Psoinos INTRODUCTION The aim of the chapter is to highlight the crucial role that refugee and migrant community organizations in the UK can play in bringing out highly educated refugees’ potential as knowledge workers. The specific objectives include: (a) exploring, through the autobiographical narratives of a group of highly educated refugees residing in the UK, the ways in which organizational actors in the host country and in particular refugee and migrant community organizations can promote or devalue highly educated refugees’ qualifications and knowledge-based skills, and (b) suggesting ways in which refugee and migrant community organizations in the UK can help highly educated refugees resettle professionally and bring out their potential as knowledge workers. BACKGROUND Knowledge workers are often considered to be a hazily defined group (Marks and Baldry, 2009); nevertheless they have certain generally acknowledged features such as a specific kind of know-how, good problem-solving and learning skills, as well as the ability to satisfy changing and not entirely predictable job requirements in a complex, culturally diverse and constantly evolving environment (Nickerson, 1995). There are two sets of reasons why refugees1 in the UK can be regarded as potential knowledge workers: first, research consistently demonstrates that on average, refugees arrive with relatively high educational qualifications and 95 M2670 - NICOLOPOULOU PRINT.indd 95 28/06/2011 16:04 96 Global knowledge work strong employment histories (Charlaff et al., 2004; Kirk, 2004). In addition, they fled their countries and have dynamically restarted their life in a completely new context, a decision which certainly...
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