2020 cohort of mentees and mentors

Today, the National Mentoring Partnership is made up of 9 regional mentoring partners and 3 national employers. Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) was the first regional mentoring partner to join the Partnership when the program started in 2018. They launched their first cohort of mentees and mentors in June 2019 and have since launched a second in January 2020. The results to date have been terrific.

We spoke to Dennis Chang, IEC-BC’s MentorConnect program delivery coordinator, about being a part of the National Mentoring Partnership and how mentoring is leading to meaningful employment for newcomers in BC.

Why did IEC-BC decide to become a mentoring partner with National Mentoring Partnership?

The IEC-BC has a unique role of connecting employers to skilled immigrant talent. Our ultimate goal is to support BC employers in terms of finding, hiring and integrating global talent into their workforce while concurrently helping to build diverse and inclusive workplace cultures.

The National Mentoring Partnership is an opportunity for the Immigrant Employment Council of BC to build new relationships and deepen our employer engagement. The collaboration with TRIEC and the other regional mentoring partners is an exciting initiative to build on our work with some of Canada’s most forward-thinking employer partners. These partners, RBC, TELUS and Deloitte are leaders in their field in terms of introducing and welcoming various Diversity and Inclusion initiatives such as mentorship opportunities.

You’re well on your way with your partnership with RBC to bring mentoring across your region. What impact have you seen so far?

The first year of this partnership has been extremely fruitful. We had the pleasure of launching RBC’s National Mentoring Partnership in BC back in June 2019 with one cohort here in Vancouver and a smaller cohort in the Okanagan region. From our first cohort back in June 2019, we matched a total of 27 partnerships. To date 64% of the employees from the Vancouver cohort have found employment in their field.

January 2020 marked National Mentoring Month in Canada, IEC-BC, TRIEC and RBC launched its second National Mentoring Partnership on January 28th and January 30th respective. For the Vancouver cohort, we were able to increase our number of matches by about 50 per cent.

What is a common challenge new Canadians experience as it relates to employment, and how has mentoring been a solution?

IEC-BC’s role in the labour market is to equip employers with the necessary solutions, tools and resources to connect with global talent. According to our employer partner champions and mentors, the top challenges for skilled newcomers include the following:

  • Understanding Canadian workplace practices;
  • Lack of knowledge of local labour market and industry requirements;
  • Essential soft skills as expected by Canadian employers (teamwork, problem solving, thinking outside the box);
  • Employers not recognizing/under valuing international education and experience;
  • Lack of a local professional network

Mentoring greatly helps newcomers in kick-starting their careers here in Canada. It provides a structured framework for newcomers to work towards their ultimate goal of finding meaningful employment within their field.

What would you tell potential employer partners thinking about coming aboard the National Mentoring Partnership? 

Our employer partners tell us mentoring has become a part of their talent acquisition strategy and a valuable professional development opportunity in a number of key strategic areas such as coaching/leadership and global context. We also know that participation in MentorConnect can contribute to employee satisfaction and retention, as well advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Canada’s diversity is one of the powerful things we can use to our competitive advantage. More BC employers understand the value and skill newcomers from diverse backgrounds offer the labor market, this eventually helps in the growth of the economy.

Employees who become mentors are able to hone their leadership skills and provide constructive feedback and most of all participate in the mutual exchange of ideas and information related to their own career progression and development. Most of all, mentoring is a great way to give back to the community and drive social capital within one’s community!