British Columbia aims to connect newcomers to jobs

The government of British Columbia is investing more than CDN$630,000 to find new ways for immigrants to join the Canadian province’s growing economy.

Last week, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell announced funding for three projects directed at increasing immigrant and refugee employability in partnership with MOSAIC BC and the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia.

MOSAIC is receiving CDN$443,000 for two projects. One is a project-based labour market training programme. ‘Fast Track to IT’ will see up to 28 immigrant job-seekers receive paid training to work as information systems analysts through classroom instruction and on-the-job work experience with local employers. It will give a group of newcomers a chance to gain new skills in the tech industry while offering local businesses a crop of trained and motivated employees ready to step into jobs with the tools they need to succeed

Another project with MOSAIC will test a new approach to providing unemployed refugees with employment services. ‘Hope to Work’ will provide two groups of 15 clients in two sessions, one in English and another in Arabic, with a ‘hope-centred’ approach to their search for work.

The provincial government is also providing the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia. with more than CDN$186,000 for the Mapping Refugee Skills and Employer Needs project. This labour market partnership will focus on developing employment opportunities for refugees in Surrey and Abbotsford by creating and examining skill profiles of those clients while engaging local employers to identify barriers faced in hiring refugees.

A final report will include strategies to connect employers to the refugee talent pool in the two regions. The outcome will give businesses a better idea of the available talent brought by refugees while also giving service providers more knowledge of barriers that need to be overcome in order to connect refugees to jobs.

“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to help unemployed immigrants and refugees find good-paying jobs that will provide them a secure future in British Columbia,” said Minister Stillwell. “I look forward to seeing the outcomes of each of these unique projects as they develop and help newcomers move into meaningful, full-time work.”

Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in BC.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. The programme also helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

To date, nearly 1,400 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 250 projects have been funded throughout the province.

Article published 12th December 2016