Communication agencies are urged to create jobs in Leeds for Ukrainian professionals fleeing war

A former university lecturer is encouraging communication agencies to create jobs in Leeds for Ukrainian professionals fleeing the war.

Robert Minton-Taylor, who previously worked in public relations, put out a call for businesses in the PR, digital, marketing and advertising industries to create short term opportunities for Ukrainian refugees.

Mr Minton-Taylor has been surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reception his idea has got so far with all the businesses that he contacted expressing an interest in playing a part.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, he said: “What would you need as someone who is a professional working in that country? Obviously you need safe refuge but also you want a job. You don’t want to be hanging around doing nothing. You’d want that for your sanity.”

A former university lecturer is encouraging communication agencies to create jobs in Leeds for Ukrainian professionals fleeing the war.

Read More

Read More
Bosses must stay calm in face of soaring inflation, says leading figure at Turne...

The visiting fellow at Leeds Beckett University wanted to help after he rang up a graduate living in Ukraine and could hear shelling in the background.

“I said ‘you have noisy neighbours. What’s the crunching sound?’” he says. “She said ‘no, the shelling has just restarted’. It brought it home to me.”

Although he was born in Yorkshire, Mr Minton-Taylor lived in Berlin until he was six. He said: “I get flashbacks of my German nanny taking me down the Kurfurstendamm and 80 per cent of Berlin was destroyed. I remember what a bombed city looks like.”

He also spent time in the 70s working in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. Mr Minton-Taylor said: “When I was working in Northern Ireland in the 70s, bombings and shootings were an everyday occurence. I remember how frightened I was in Northern Ireland while working there.”

Alongside encouraging agencies to offer jobs, Mr Minton-Taylor is also looking to reach out to train companies to provide transport support for refugees.

He has also secured the support of a guesthouse owner in his home village of Cononley to provide accommodation.

Mr Minton-Taylor said: “The situation at the moment is we have accommodation. We have paid jobs. We’ll be meeting to discuss how this is going to work.

“We will not be paying for people’s flights into the UK. They will have to get to the UK themselves.”

The former lecturer believes that Ukrainian communications professionals have a lot to offer businesses and the city of Leeds with the UK and Ukraine having a lot of things in common.

He said: “It’s a very sophisticated country with 35 million people. There’s a sophisticated media. They’ve got PR companies.

“I noticed that a number of people on my LinkedIn profile worked in PR and marketing or are journalists. Some owned their own agencies.

“Leeds is a sophisticated city. It’s a big media city with digital, marketing, PR, advertising firms and Channel 4.”

Mr Minton-Taylor added that it’s a “two-way street” with potential for Yorkshire businesses to gain a foothold in Eastern Europe when it is safe for refugees to return to Ukraine.

He said: “You could find that there are business opportunities in Ukraine and you’ll have a partner out there.

“Even opening up countries like Poland. There’s obviously close collaboration in that former Soviet bloc of countries that are now independent.”

“There’s a potential market for them to get to know what it is there. They all speak good English in Ukraine. There’s not a language barrier.”

The plans are set to be discussed this month but Mr Minton-Taylor says the jobs “have to be paid”.

“We realise that it’s got to be for a year. It’s got to be paid,” he said. “Whether that’s an agency taking someone for three months and then they work for another agency for three months. That’s something we need to discuss.

“I just wanted to get accommodation and interest from the agencies and recognition from Leeds City Council of what we’re doing.”

Robert Minton-Taylor hopes the support scheme is not a “long, drawn out process” and would like to have something in place by July-August this year.

He doesn’t expect a high number of refugees coming through the initiative but thinks the support could be widened if successful.

Leeds is ideally placed to help because it is a “business hub” with a “strong marketing, PR, advertising and media presence”, Mr Minton-Taylor says.

He added: “It’s a very friendly city. Walking up from the station you find people giving down and outs on the street stuff they’ve brought at Greggs for them. You wouldn’t find that in London.”