On March 7, 2015, TRIEC brought together leaders from professional immigrant networks to celebrate what they have achieved together through the Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program and build on strengths and opportunities for the coming year.
The day was hosted by Paula Calderon, President of the Canadian Colombian Professional Association and was attended by 33 PINs leaders representing 20 PINs associations.
In the four years since its inception, the PINs’ program has gained exposure and has increased awareness of PINs associations, with almost 600 immigrants reaching out to associations through the PINs website in 2014-15.
The PINs community is currently comprised of 55 associations, represented by over 100 leaders and 70 partners. A number of collaborations have taken shape including:
- Drs2Drs: A collaboration of PINs Associations and community-based organizations coming together to support internationally trained doctors in gaining meaningful employment.
- Latin Networking Beyond Boundaries (LNBB): An initiative that began as a joint networking event co-organized by Latin American PINs associations, TRIEC and Latin American Employee Resource groups back in 2011. Now they are identifying ways to better coordinate and collaborate which we know will have a positive impact on the Latin American community.
On the recommendation of PINs leaders last year, TRIEC organized three networking events with employers and PINs members in York, Peel and Toronto. Some of the participants of ended up getting interviews and invited to apply for internship opportunities.
For the next fiscal year, the PINs program will be focusing on these areas:
- Increase awareness of PINs association as part of TRIEC’s communications plan and website revamp and re-launch
- Foster collaboration through network mapping and analysis and hosting quarterly meetings
- Facilitate connections to employers through networking events and recruitment opportunities
- Develop pathways for PINs members to participate and benefit from TRIEC programs
- Develop leaders by providing learning resources and speaking opportunities
The PINs membership survey was conducted in February 2015 to find out more about PINs members and to help serve them better. There were 245 respondents from 33 PINs associations.
- 80% of respondents were of “working age” (30-54 years) and majority entered through the skilled immigrant class.
- 22% of members arrived in Canada in the last three years, while 25% arrived before 2004, some as early as 1969.
- Over 40% of members had 5-10 years of work experience in their field before arriving to Canada.
- While over 50% of the members were employed, only 40% of those were employed in jobs commensurate with their skills and experience.
However, the major challenges in finding employment identified by PINs members were:
- Canadian experience
- Understanding of Canadian workplace culture
- Networking opportunities
Penny Scott from Health Nexus provided an introduction to network mapping and analysis and how it is used as a powerful tool to strengthen connections and partnerships. Through an interactive session, Penny introduced PINs leaders to network mapping theory and encouraged participants to think about how this could be applied to their own associations as well as the PINs community – the network of networks.
In 2015-16, TRIEC, Health Nexus and a working group of PINs leaders and partners, will engage the PINs community to map and analyze the network to help us further strengthen and develop the network to facilitate even greater collaboration and to shape the future of PINs.
PINs leaders learn about how their members can benefit from other TRIEC programs
PINs leaders also participated in two rounds of breakout sessions to learn about TRIEC programs and initiatives, how their members can benefit and discuss ways PINs associations can engage. The following TRIEC programs were represented at the session:
- TRIEC Campus: PINs leaders had a chance to test run TRIEC Campus tools. They also learned about how Campus resources can be shared with members for their own self-paced use or used by leaders as facilitators.
- The Mentoring Partnership (TMP): PINs leaders learned about how their members can take advantage of TMP’s growth and explored different options on how their associations can inform and refer their members to the program.
- Connector: PINs leaders learnt about TRIEC’s Connector Program and explored how their members can engage in its pilot phase and beyond.
- Employer Engagement: PINs leaders shared what has worked as well as the challenges in connecting their members to employment and employment-related programs and events, and ways TRIEC can better support them.