Sa-OR-S138-4 - Refugees, Boundary Crossing Careers And Professional Identity

Career patterns and mobility
Oral Presentation
Part of:
Saturday May 20   12:15 PM to 12:30 PM (15 minutes)
Labor market issues
Career patterns and mobility
Refugees, boundary crossing careers and professional identity
K. Mackenzie Davey 1,*, C. Jones 1
1Birkbeck, LONDON, United Kingdom
Content:         - ·Purpose
Professional career identity for refugees could be a protection from stigmatised identity or a barrier to adaptation to changing circumstances. This study aims to clarify the role of professional identity in successfully managing disruption.
        - ·Design/Methodology
Focus groups and interviews were carried out with 15 educational or medical professionals who were refugees in the UK. Their narratives of their sense of identity throughout their journey from professional in their country of origin to refugee in the UK were explored.  Thematic analysis identified the extent to which maintaining a sense of professional career identity was used in negotiating work in the UK.  
        - ·Results
Refugee professionals valued the identity provided by their professional status throughout the experience of loss of home. The responses drew on a three overarching narratives.  Many expressed frustration at the barriers to being accepted in the UK but drew support and information from fellow refugee professionals. A second group described drawing on their existing professional skills to find an alternative way to achieve professional recognition by retraining. Finally in one case the response was to deny previous professional identity and to focus on providing for a family.
        - · Limitations
The study is a small sample, retrospective and cross sectional. Further longitudinal work would examine varieties of experience over time.
        - ·Research/Practical Implications
Maintaining  professional identity of refugees can be important in the role of counsellors and professionals supporting  those who have experienced trauma.
Offering appropriate support refugees is core to helping adaptation. 

Senior Lecturer

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