At ISANS, we pride ourselves on our wrap-around, specialized programs, and we believe in the power of engaging community partners to improve immigrant retention in Nova Scotia.
Our employment and bridging services are excellent examples of this community-minded and comprehensive approach. To help immigrants find employment in their desired fields, our employment team collaborates closely with employers, regulators, educational institutions, volunteers, subject-matter experts, government organizations, and many other partners. Through these partnerships, we offer many employment-related services, from one-on-one counselling to employment-readiness training, to programs that are profession-specific, gender-based, competency-based, youth-focused, and employer-driven.
One such program is our Youth Employability Project (IYEP), which has served more than 260 young people since its inception in 2016. Over the last year, we have trained and supported 62 youth to enter the labour market in a position related to their career goals, one of whom – Gutu Waqo – immigrated to Canada three years ago. Gutu worked as a cleaner in that time, but he decided to start IYEP to find better opportunities for his future. Until then, Gutu hadn’t been in a position to think about his career aspirations; but now, having participated in the program’s career exploration, he realizes he wants to pursue a career as a Red Seal Automotive Mechanic.
We’re proud to share that Gutu is well on his way to his dream career. With support from IYEP staff and our Trades Practical Assessment program, he began a position as a Lower Technician with Mr. Lube. Our team also collaborated with the Automotive Sector Council of NS to register him for their ‘Pathways to Success,’ an entry-level training program focused on essential skills for the automotive sector. Since then, he has successfully completed his IYEP work placement (600 hours) and is pursuing an apprenticeship with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. His employer has expressed his willingness to support Gutu through his apprenticeship, recognizing his incredible work ethic, his commitment to learning and professional development, his relationship-building skills, and his willingness to contribute to the automotive sector – a sector facing significant labour challenges.
Gutu’s story is a powerful one, because it demonstrates just how much immigrants like him can accomplish when given the right support. Prior to IYEP, he faced significant barriers in the labour market because hadn’t earned a high-school diploma and had limited experience searching for jobs in Canada. Now, Gutu has developed his skills, secured long-term employment related to his career goals, and found a pathway to growth within his professional sector.
All at once, Gutu is realizing his potential, his economic security has improved, and our community is benefitting from his skills and determination.