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Iranian refugee can start again thanks to Eyup Academy

David Richards with graduate Kian

A young IT and engineering student who fled the oppressive regime in Iran is rebuilding his life in the UK after graduating from EyUp, the Yorkshire tech skills academy.

Kian is among the latest graduates at the award-winning programme, founded by technology entrepreneur and WANdisco founder David Richards. He won a bursary and had been working as a part-time pizza chef to support himself during his studies.

Kian has now landed a job as a junior quality assurance engineer at live data company WANdisco plc. He said: “EyUp is truly life-changing – it gives me a base to build on and will open so many doors of opportunity.”

EyUp hosted a celebration event with graduates past and present, recruiters and employers at Blend Kitchen, a social enterprise in Sheffield. Speakers included Melissa Chambers, a former NASA engineer who is co-founder and CEO of cyber security firm Sitehop.

Melissa said: “When we hired [Eyup] graduate Mike Lawrence, we gave him two tasks that we thought would take a recent graduate over a month to execute. He smashed it in a week. As we grow our global market, Sitehop will be looking for more graduates and EyUp has a great programme to get candidates ready to be immediately effective employees.”

She continued: “High-tech industry is waking up to the benefits of doing business in the North as an alternative to London and the South. We have a great environment, great universities, a growing base of competitive companies and a very powerful investment ecosystem.”

Alongside Kian, the latest, third, cohort of graduates includes a former research chemist, a film and TV freelancer, a civil servant and an individual returning to work after a mental health break.

All graduates from the first and second cohorts have found work in the tech sector. The third cohort finished their studies on December 23. EyUp is now recruiting for the fourth cohort to start in March.

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