As this year comes to an end, it is a good opportunity to celebrate our successes and build excitement for 2018 – IEC-BC’s 10-year anniversary. In 2017, we developed innovative tools, resources and nimble solutions – all with a view to helping BC employers grow and prosper by fully using immigrant talent. We are grateful to all our friends and partners for their support and collaboration, and we look forward to more success in 2018. Here’s a re-cap of the year’s key highlights.
Signature Events and New Partnerships:
- In February, IEC-BC brought together some 90 BC employers to discuss ways to leverage the talents BC’s refugees and boost workplace diversity as part of Tapping Into New Talent: Opportunities for BC Businesses.
- In October, we co-hosted an in-depth discussion on ways to Unlock the Diversity Dividend in BC with participation of more than 100 representatives from business, government, academia and front-line settlement services.
- We were honoured to have been part of Surrey NEW – held for the first time on October 21-27. This week of events and activities aimed to celebrate the many contributions of immigrants in Surrey and help build better bridges between newcomer job seekers and employers.
- Another highlight was the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Surrey Board of Trade in November, signifying a partnership that aims to equip Surrey businesses with the tools, resources and workable solutions they need to connect with the refugee and immigrant talent.
BC JobConnect Launch: This past year also marked the creation of BC JobConnect – a free online tool connecting employers with immigrant talent. It was first launched in February to provide a platform for BC’s refugees to showcase their skills and talents to employers, and in August it was expanded to include other newcomer groups as well. As of December, there were over 500 newcomers and more than 200 employers registered in the portal.
FAST Program Expansion: Initially designed to facilitate access to three skilled trades in British Columbia, in 2017 FAST evolved into a comprehensive set of services and resources for persons approved, in principle, to immigrate to Canada, with backgrounds in 35 skilled trades, 16 occupations in IT and Data Services, and 17 occupations in Biotechnology and Life Sciences. The program gives skilled immigrants a head start in their careers in Canada.
Employer Advisory Group: In an effort to help BC employers find innovative solutions to tap into immigrant talent to meet the province’s labour-force needs now and in the coming years, IEC-BC has created an Employer Advisory Group. The Group will develop key recommendations for IEC-BC and different levels of government to address immigrant employment issues.
Other Highlights from 2017:
There are certainly many more bright spots in IEC-BC’s reflection of 2017. Here are just a few more:
- In January, we created “Onboarding Refugees: A Toolkit for BC Employers”to help employers effectively recruit, hire, onboard and retain a diverse workforce that includes refugees. Stayed tuned for a new expanded version in 2018.
- In June, we celebrated the 500-mentor milestone in MentorConnect – our program that provides one-on-one, occupation-specific coaching for skilled immigrants from their local peers.
- In October, we released a report “Mapping Refugee Skills and Employer Needs in Surrey and Abbotsford.” It identified strategies to help connect refugees to employment in these communities.
Find out more about our journey from the 2016-17 Annual Report.