Three members of Yukon's first Syrian refugee family are ready to dip their toes into the workforce.

"They are extremely, extremely keen to work," said Raquel de Queiroz of Yukon Cares, the group that sponsored the 11-member Arafat family. 

The family has been taking English lessons since their arrival at the end of January. De Queiroz says the father, Hussein, and the two oldest sons, Hassan and Ismaeil, are looking for work that will offer some job-related English language training. 

"We came up with the idea of having job coaches that could work with them one hour a day," she said. 

"So get them to start working a few hours, and then slowly increase that as they are more comfortable." 

De Queiroz said the men are looking for either paid or volunteer work. 

"The volunteer positions should be real volunteer positions, not just free labour," she explained. 

Although Hassan and Ismaeil have experience working in retail and Hussein as a truck driver, de Queiroz said any entry level job will do. 

"Then, as they get better English, we can try to build their careers in any direction they want to go."

Younger children at school

The Aarafat's school-age children have been attending high school and elementary school. De Queiroz said it's amazing how fast they are learning English. 

"Fortunately our schools are well prepared for students that don't speak English," she said. "They've had a lot of experience with the Filipino community."


  • An earlier version of this story misspelled Aarafat as Arafat.
    Apr 11, 2016 2:11 PM CT