Since 2016, TRIEC Mentoring Partnership has sought to increase the number of participants in the program through the Referral Project Pilot. We spoke to Natalia Schiopu, Coordinator, Programs and Services, JobStart, and Adriana Odorico, Manager, Employment Services, Centre for Education and Training, about their thoughts on the project so far.

Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Referral Project pilot?

Natalia: JobStart has always collaborated with community partners to get referrals for the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program. In the past, it was our responsibility to screen clients before they were invited to register. The Referral Project’s structured approach streamlines the processes to make sure that we were getting eligible and suitable clients referred to mentoring, and more immigrant professionals were able to access the program.

Adriana: We were motivated to participate in this project because it helps us to be seen as leaders delivering employment and settlement services in the communities we serve, and aligns with our values. We see this partnership as an important vehicle for newcomers’ success as it connects them to the Canadian labour market, networks, and helps them build on these relationships.

Q: How do you think our collaboration benefits our sector?

Natalia: JobStart’s collaboration with employment service providers and settlement agencies is important as our services complement each other. The mentoring program is part of employment services that are not offered by settlement agencies, while settlement agencies address other needs aside from employment. This combined effort benefits our clients, who can access this program sooner.

Adriana: Collaboration is key to broadening the scope to a larger group of people, who may not be able to access the mentoring program, and allowing us to leverage the TRIEC brand. The partnership also benefits the sector as it creates trust between organizations.

Q: Natalia, how do you work with your Referral agency?

Natalia: The referral coaches screen and interview clients, and then refer them to JobStart. We invite them to our information session that is followed by registration in the mentoring program. Sometimes, we also go to their location to deliver mentoring info sessions, and register the clients on the spot. We also help referral coaches with screening, answer their questions regarding client’s eligibility and suitability, as well as recommend other programs that the clients can be referred to. It is a good process that helps all stakeholders.

Q: Adriana, how would you describe your collaboration with your TRIEC Mentoring Partnership partner agency?

Adriana: The formalized referral process supports our outcomes for service coordination, helps clients to build professional networks, integrate into society and move more quickly into the labour market. The agencies have been very flexible in ensuring that the process is client centric and seamless. They have been very supportive and provide tips, information session schedules, best practices and any other information that will help the employability of our mutual client. The experience has been very positive.

Q: What have been some of the preliminary results of clients referred to your agency?

Natalia: We have seen an increase of clients coming from our Referral agencies, Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services and Tropicana. We had 37 clients referred to us by both referral partners since May 2017, out of which 25 clients registered in the program.

Adriana: To date we have a referred total of 63 clients, out of which 27 have been accepted into TRIEC Mentoring Partnership. Clients are pleased that our staff is able to make a direct referral to the partnering agency and matches have already been made.

Q: How would you describe the Project so far?

Natalia: The Referral project has been successful in helping us extend the program to more new Canadians, ensuring that only eligible clients are referred, and providing useful tools for tracking referrals. This collaboration has a lot of potential and we are looking forward to working with more referral settlement agencies in the future to benefit of our clients.

Adriana: TRIEC has played a very important role in ensuring that the pilot is successful. They have been open to all recommendations for improvement. The communication has been wonderful in helping the pilot succeed.