British Columbia

Vancouver tech company offers paid internships for Syrian refugees

Globalme — a Vancouver tech company specializing in language and technology — hopes the internship will help Syrian newcomers get a head start.

'We wanted to do something for the community'

Marketing Manager Erik de Vries says Globalme's staff comes from all over the world including Hong Kong, Korea, Brazil, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, and Turkey. (Globalme)

Finding work in a new country can be a challenge for anyone — especially refugees.

That's why Globalme — a local company  specializing in technology and language — is hoping to help Syrian newcomers get a head start.

Marketing manager Erik de Vries told Stephen Quinn on CBC's The Early Edition the company has three paid internships available for Syrian refugees.

"We were looking for talent anyway; why don't we consider hiring people from Syria?" he said.

De Vries said his coworkers knew the difficulty Syrian immigrants faced getting work and settling into their new lives, so they decided to something themselves.

"We wanted to do something for the community [that was] more than just a one time donation. We wanted to do something structural," he said.

Eric de Vries is the marketing manager of Globalme — a tech start up in Vancouver offering Syrian refugees a three month paid internship. (Charlie Cho/CBC)

The company worked with MOSAIC — a local immigrant services agency — to get matched up with skilled Syrian refugees.

"It's very important that [candidates] know English. They need to be proficient," he said.

In addition, de Vries said that the company is also looking for linguistic experience like translating, quality assurance testing or technical experience.

The company has already hired one intern through MOSAIC for the three-month internship, he said.

De Vries said the company is a welcoming place for any newcomer, especially since 80 per cent of its workforce is from overseas.

In fact, De Vries himself came to Canada from the Netherlands last year. 

"Fortunately, none of us can relate to what is happening in Syria right now, but we can relate to coming to a new country, leaving everything behind and needing to build up a new life of your own."

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Vancouver tech company offers paid internships for Syrian refugees