Over the last 4 years, Reception House has been quietly providing employment support to refugees who came to Canada from around the world. Guiding newcomers through pre-employment processes like job seeking techniques, resume and interview preparation, WHMIS, health and safety training, Canadian workplace culture orientation, and orientation in the workplace. Health and Safety and WHMIS training is delivered by partner organization K-W Multicultural Centre.
As we begin to work with employers, we recognize the need to provide employment support at the workplace. Yes, there may be cultural differences and language barriers. Our Working Together Project anticipates the challenges refugees and employers face in the workplace. We build in English language support for refugees, providing virtually at this time by Conestoga College. We work with employers to provide HR orientation, workplace tours and support workplace integration.
After placing resourceful refugees with workplaces, our Working Together Project team works directly with employers and refugees to provide wrap-around support. We want refugees to rebuild their lives. We are rooting for newcomers. By providing employment support, we provide tools and opportunities for refugees to rebuild their lives here, in Canada.
Newcomers arrive in Canada after years of isolation, trauma and fleeing their homes. As we welcome our newcomer friends, we know re-building lives is incredibly challenging. Securing employment is a step towards becoming fully integrated and fully re-settled into Waterloo Region. Employment is a pillar to a successful resettlement experience.
While refugees experience life-altering experiences, they are resilient and resourceful. Never underestimate a refugee. Newcomers have incredible adaptability and flexibility skills. While Working Together staff provide structured support, refugees are capable of adapting to nearly every situation and integrate fully into their workplace. Many soft skills like flexibility, resourcefulness and adaptability are acquired by refugees and transferable into the workplace.
Majed Alhlal is proud to share his and his family’s story. After arriving in Canada, he was sad and depressed. He and his family were isolated and challenged as they tried to make Waterloo Region their home. Majed began a job at the Tigercat Industries Inc. As he began working for this employer, his supervisor began to report back to the Working Together Project team that they were seeing a more positive and engaged employee.
Majed shared that before starting his employment, he used to feel very depressed, helpless, and disappointed. He thought that he wouldn’t fit into the new community, wanted to go back home and his entire family was suffering. Both his supervisor and fellow employees report seeing Majed more engaged and happier. As the head of a household with a stable income, Majed and his family are proud of the life they have begun to build in Waterloo Region.
Majed says that thanks to employment, his and his family’s life has been profoundly changed. He feels happy, healthy, positive about the future and has made many friends. The family is also very happy, and they are thinking to buy a house in the near future. He adds that although his English is not so good, but he uses different means of communication while talking to his coworkers and has been able to make a lot of connections.
We hear from many of our clients about worrying that there is no place for them in Canada. Many worry about whether they will be employable in Canadian business. Will there be a place for a refugee with a variety of skills? Canadian businesses and organizations are richer for hiring newcomers who provide a world of experience. Employers who work with our Working Together Project know that hiring newcomers is key to thriving in our integrated world.