"The Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham was commissioned by Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council to undertake a programme of research, to provide a clearer and more in-depth account of the size, skills and needs of the asylum seekers and refugee (ASR) population.The need for this piece of work arose as a result of the Government’s dispersal policy of asylum seekers and their growing visibility in communities and neighbourhoods. As a result, public agencies in Birmingham and Solihull recognized the need to understand the issues and difficulties impacting on individuals seeking to access services and delivery issues arising for local providers. The research explores the issues faced by asylum seekers and refugees (ASR) and the experiences of the statutory and non-statutory sector working with these groups to enable a greater understanding of how ASRs might best be supported in the region. It identifies lessons of positive practice from organisations in the field and also current gaps in ASR service provision. It emphasises the positive contribution that ASRs have to make to the sub-region and the mechanisms that can facilitate or prevent this occurring. It also provides the basis for developing positive solutions to the challenges organisations face in supporting newcomers, developing employment training and ensuing access to education opportunities." - page 6.