The Employment Program of B.C. assists people dealing with language barriers and other roadblocks seeking the path to employment. Through a contract with Work Link and a partnership with the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Society Centre, the Employment Program of B.C. aims to to assist citizens and newcomers to Canada in finding jobs that best suit their skill set.
The program provides free services for people looking for work that helps prepare them for the job market, said Andrea Westfall, a case manager for the program.
“There is a skills assessment process where we identify an individual’s long-term goals, background and expectations,” Westfall explained. “It’s like a one on one mentorship program.”
The program teaches those involved how to build a resume, prepare for an interview, and provides leads for employment, arranges job contacts and how to network with employers, all important parts of the process of finding the right job, Westfall noted.
“What sets us apart is that we can meet people wherever they’re comfortable,” she said. Case managers are assigned to specific areas within the Capital Region, with Westfall and case manager Amarjit Bhalla offering assistance to people in Langford, Colwood, Sooke and Sidney.
“We specialize in working with immigrants by familiarizing them with how the job search process works in Canada,” Bhalla said. She used as an example a talented seamstress who couldn’t speak a word of English that they were able to connect with an employer who recognized the expertise she could provide.
“Language wasn’t a problem because of her skills,” Bhalla said. “We were able to provide an interpreter for three days until she was comfortable. She’s been employed since December and the employer is very, very happy.”