BC offers help for immigrant job seekers FAST

The Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC) has announced the expansion of its FAST (facilitate access to skilled trades) program designed to help skilled immigrants become better prepared for work in Canada.

The program has been set up to help prepare newcomers for work in the province, and to connect employers with internationally trained workers. It is estimated that BC will see 934,000 job openings between now and 2025.

Initially designed to facilitate access to three skilled trades in British Columbia, FAST has now evolved into a comprehensive set of services and resources for immigrant workers in 35 skilled trades, 16 occupations in IT and Data Services, and 17 occupations in Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

“These tools have been developed to help both Canadian employers and skilled immigrants effectively contribute to building a stronger Canadian economy,” says Patrick Mackenzie, the IEC-BC CEO.

Along with information about the Canadian workplace, the online program provides immigrants a comprehensive assessment of their competencies that includes recommendations to improve their knowledge when needed in specific areas as well as alternative careers where their skills are in demand.

“Immigration plays an important role in keeping Canada competitive in a global economy, and preparing immigrants to succeed in our labour market – before they even arrive – is essential to this,” explains Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Through initiatives like this, we’re helping newcomers to Canada hit the ground running, strengthening our labour force and economy, as soon as they arrive.”

Currently, more than 160 clients who have been approved to immigrate to Canada use FAST. One of them is Paul Foers, a power engineer from the UK who will be moving to Canada in the autumn. He registered for the program in February, and has since finished the Canadian Workplace Culture and Power Engineering modules.

“Completing the Prepare for Work in Canada module in the FAST program was very useful. Although there are a lot of similarities to the UK, understanding the subtler aspects of the Canadian workplace will prove important in my move to this country,” he said.

Once participants complete the online learning within FAST, registered employers can connect with them through an easy-to-use database.

Click here to find out more information about the FAST program.

Article published 19th June 2017