British Columbia

New website aims to connect refugees with employers

A new website from a B.C. non-profit is attempting to break down the barriers that keep refugees from finding employment.

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. launched new website on Friday

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. CEO Kelly Pollack (at podium) speaks at a Friday launch event for B.C. Refugees Job Connect. (Sangeeta Subramanian)

The Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. says its newly-launched website will help connect refugees with employers.

IEC-BC CEO Kelly Pollack says refugees often have a hard time finding jobs after seeking safety in a new country and employers sometimes struggle to bring them into their companies.

B.C. Refugees Job Connect aims to help with that problem and has been live since Friday.

"Many [refugees] come with a whole assortment of skills but some challenges," she told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. "Language being one of them for some … and absolutely very little understanding of how to find a job in British Columbia, how to network, how you connect with people, things most of us take for granted.

"This tool gives them a very practical way of putting all of their past experiences, education and any certificates they've brought with them online, so any employer around the province that might be looking for someone with their particular skill set can find them."

Investment pays off

Pollack says while a lack of language training has been an issue, some employers are taking it upon themselves to provide that training at work and some are even bringing in interpreters.

Other spoke of how the need for having Canadian work experience and credentials can be a red herring, and the most important thing is getting to know a potential employee and if they will fit in a workplace.

"What I heard employers say is [refugees] bring a really strong work ethic, the desire to really contribute to a company that had taken a chance on them," she said. "While there might be a little more investment up front, at the end of the day, what the return was for the company was more than the investment … They just want to work."

B.C. Refugees JobConnect is now online.

With files from CBC Radio One's On the Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: New website aims to connect refugees with employers