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Employability Durham helps Ukrainian teacher find her dream job

A Ukrainian teacher has thanked a service which helped her continue her dream job after leaving her home country.

Durham County Council’s Employability Durham provided support to refugee Viktoriia Hordienko, who left Ukraine in July.

Having worked as an English teacher for 31 years, Viktoriia came to County Durham through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, having to leave her husband and son behind.

She hoped to continue teaching once she was settled in the county but was unsure of where to begin, until the council’s Humanitarian Support Team put her in touch with Employability Durham, which provides career advice, information, and support to people aged 25 and over.

Viktoriia registered with the Durham Advance programme through Employability Durham, and was assigned to an employment and development adviser, who purchased a laptop for Viktoriia so that she could continue communicating with her previous school in Ukraine.

The adviser arranged for Viktoriia’s qualifications to be translated into English so she could apply for teaching jobs in the UK, and helped boost her confidence by assuring her that her skills were relevant and she was capable of doing the roles.

Viktoriia was put in contact with an employment agency, through which she secured a job as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) tutor at New College Durham.

She said: “One early morning in February completely changed my life. Luckily, I had an opportunity to get to the UK, but I even couldn’t imagine that in such a short period of time I would get all the necessary documents and what is more important to me – my job.

“I have been teaching English for 31 years and I could only dream about being a teacher in the country of the language I teach to my students. The greatest dream of my life has come true with the help of very kind and caring people, and I’ve got a job where I can continue doing my favourite work.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “We are delighted our Employability Durham team has been able to help Viktoriia settle in County Durham. After an unimaginable transition coming to the UK, I am pleased that through our service she has been able to stay in contact with her previous school and continue her career in teaching.”

Employability Durham is hosting a jobs fair in partnership with Durham City of Sanctuary to support refugees and asylum seekers who are living in County Durham and looking for work.

Taking place on Wednesday 9 November from 3pm to 6pm at Durham Town Hall, the event is open to anyone and there will be opportunities to meet a host of employers looking to recruit new staff.

To book an entry slot, visit

For more information about Employability Durham, visit or follow the service’s Facebook Page at @EmployabilityDurham.

Alternatively, people can contact the team at and on 03000 262009.


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