Submitted. 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, selected through an application process, are taking part in Job Connections for Immigrants (JCI), a $138,471 Project-Based Labour Market Training program funded by the B.C. government and administered by the Abbotsford Community Services Society. The participants have come to British Columbia from India, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Nigeria and China.
Participants began the program on May 16, 2016, and will be training for 21 weeks, 13 of which will be spent in the classroom as participants gain employability skills before spending eight weeks in job placements in the Abbotsford-area retail industry.
During the program’s first 90 hours of classroom sessions, participants will gain employability skills such as communication, life management, conflict resolution, the ability to search for a job and be interviewed successfully. Then, more than 206 hours will be spent learning the ins and outs of workplaces, such as culture, communication and literacy skills before gaining certifications in first aid, Food Safe, cashier training and more.
Throughout the classroom sessions, students will have access to one-on-one assistance and individual coaching as needed.
The participants will then be ready for their eight-week work-experience placements where they will get full-time, on-the-job experience with an employer that matches their interests and aptitudes.
The program wraps up with two weeks of followup support for the participants, who are better equipped to enter the workforce with experience that would otherwise have been difficult to gain.
Funding for the project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program. 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 B.C.’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.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched two years ago to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for the almost one million job openings that are projected by 2024 and to re-engineer B.C.’s education programs toward a data-driven system focusing investments toward training for in-demand jobs.