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Mentoring help to integrate skilled immigrants into workforce

By Workplace Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

More skilled immigrants will now find employment in their field because of a new mentoring initiative. TD Bank Financial Group and ALLIES, a joint program of Maytree and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, recently announced the launch of a new National Mentoring Initiative at the 2009 ALLIES Learning Exchange conference in Vancouver, B.C.

The goal of the initiative is to establish mentoring as a successful labour market strategy to give skilled immigrants better access to employment in Canada. The initiative builds on the knowledge and experience of the Mentoring Partnership, a Greater Toronto Area-wide program first launched by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), a multi-stakeholder council working to improve access to employment for immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“Mentoring is a simple, yet powerful idea that builds on the strength of networks,” says Ratna Omidvar, president of Maytree. “One of the major barriers faced by skilled immigrants in finding employment in their occupation has always been the lack of professional networks and understanding of Canadian workplace culture and expectations. A strong mentoring program, where workplace ready immigrants are matched with Canadian professionals based on occupational criteria, has proved to be a successful strategy to lower those barriers. To have TD Bank Financial Group come on board as the funder for the Canada-wide initiative will ensure that we can replicate the success we had in the GTA much faster.”

“We’re an enthusiastic supporter of mentoring as a means to employment,” says Sue Cummings, senior vice president, human resources at TD Bank Financial Group. “In our years of experience with this model the results speak for themselves. Where else can you find a program that helps more than two-thirds of participants to find employment in their field or profession, and delivers a 67 per cent increase in their average annual salary? This investment has a real impact on people’s lives and pays long-term social and economic dividends for our society.” 

Participants entering an occupation-specific mentoring program possess the education, experience and language skills needed to excel in the workforce – all they need are the connections and knowledge that can only be gained from real-life experience.

ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies) is a five-year project jointly funded by Maytree and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. ALLIES provides the information, learning and funding required by communities to adapt and implement successful immigrant employment approaches used by multi-stakeholder initiatives across the country. The project brings local players together to develop their own practical solutions for the integration of skilled immigrants into the labour market.

Details on how organizations can get tools, resources and support toset up or expand their mentoring program are available online atwww.maytree.com/integration/allies.

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