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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Mormon missionaries from Gravesend to help eastern Europeans find jobs

23 June 2014
by Thom Morris

Two Mormon missionaries have set up a recruitment agency to help find eastern European migrants jobs.

Brothers Tom and Joseph Shillabeer have spent the last two years working as missionaries in Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Now back in Gravesend, the pair have set up SkyLark Noble to help eastern Europeans find jobs in and around Gravesend and Dartford.

Joe  Tom Shillabeer

Joe & Tom Shillabeer

Tom, 25, of Kent Road, Gravesend said: “Since we have come back, we have seen the vast amounts of eastern Europeans over here looking for work, many of which are somewhat handicapped by the stereotype that all eastern Europeans are thieves and gypsies.

“We have a different view of them, which is more accurate. They appreciate everything we take for granted - work, education and family.

“We had to learn the language which we managed quite quickly and we soon learnt about their culture. We’ve been home for a couple of years now but have noticed that there are a lot of highly qualified eastern Europeans unable to find work.

"A lot of them are handicapped by stereotypes.”

The pair taught English whilst abroad and spread the Mormon message.

Mr Shillabeer continued: “They are extremely hard working people who want to make a better life for themselves as well as making money to make their family’s lives back home better.”

Within Kent, Gravesham has the highest proportion of population born outside of the UK at 14.1% equating to about 14,300 people.

Furthermore, 3.7% of Gravesham residents (3,770 people) were born in countries which became part of the EU after April 2001.

This is the highest number and proportion in Kent.

In the 2011 census, the ‘Other White’ category includes Eastern European migrants which now account for 4,693 or 4.6% of the resident population.

Collectively, ‘Other White’ and ‘Black Minority Ethnic’ groups account for 22,187 or 21.8% of the resident population.

Mr Shillabeer added that the response so far as been enthusiastic and that funding for the project is being awaited to take the scheme to the next step.

He said: “We’ve had loads of positive feedback and social media has been going crazy. We’ve been sent CVs and letters so word is really spreading quickly.”

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