British Columbia helping immigrant job seekers

A group of immigrant job seekers is getting a head start to employment in the retail industry of one of British Columbia’s fastest-growing regions.

Eleven Fraser Valley residents are currently taking part in Job Connections for Immigrants (JCI), a Project-Based Labour Market Training programme funded by the British Columbia government.

Participants began the programme, which last for 21 weeks, back in May. During the course of the programme participants gain employability skills before spending eight weeks in job placements in the Abbotsford-area retail industry. Abbotsford is the third most culturally diverse community in British Columbia, after Vancouver and Surrey. The city is home to 58 different ethnic and cultural groups with one of the largest South Asian populations in the province.

“Our government believes the best strategy to help people up is a good job,” explains Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation for British Columbia. “Therefore we are investing in jobs first, which means we want to target supports to the individuals and families who need them most as well as grow the economy and create jobs. This partnership is another example of how we can help set BC residents up for success.”

Funding for the project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships programme. Project-Based Labour Market Training projects provide funding to organizations to assist with local projects that provide a combination of on- and/or off-the-job employment training to eligible participants to help them obtain sustainable employment.

The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom 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, more than 1,000 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.

The participants on the current course have come to British Columbia from India, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Nigeria and China

Article published 8th August 2016