It’s been one year since the first refugees from Syria arrived in Canada. As a nation, we’ve taken pride in welcoming them into our communities and setting a compassionate example that the rest of the world has taken notice of. For many Syrian newcomers the past year has been about meeting the basic needs of resettlement. Now, it’s time to examine the role all of us can play in helping those who are ready to secure meaningful employment.

What is job searching like for Syrian newcomers?

It is important to remember this group of newcomers brings a range of skills and qualifications from a variety of occupations. The GTA – and Canada as a whole – has a lot to gain from supporting Syrian refugees so that they may contribute the full extent of their professional expertise and experience to our economy and society.

Some refugee newcomers may face unique barriers in trying to reconnect with their careers. For Syrians, the war has meant gaps in employment history and missing documentation of credentials due to institutions being closed or in some cases destroyed. This is in addition to having to learn about the Canadian job market and adapting to the nuances of Canadian workplace culture, which are challenges that all immigrants face.

Throughout 2016, TRIEC has been collaborating on initiatives that aim to support highly-skilled Syrian newcomers overcome these barriers. We’ve held a job fair with ACCES Employment and Magnet to connect refugee newcomers with employers. And we’ve supported the development of an alternative credential assessment program with WES and Intact Insurance, to help refugees get their qualifications recognized in Canada.

How can individuals and employers support highly-skilled Syrian newcomers?

We all have a part to play in helping newcomers integrate. Here are a couple of TRIEC programs that support job-ready highly-skilled newcomers in the GTA, that you can get involved with.

Campus: One of the most effective things any organization can do is build a diverse and inclusive workplace and strengthen the cross-cultural competencies of your team. TRIEC CAMPUS offers a number of resources and curriculums that can help you do this.

The Mentoring Partnership: Refer individuals to The Mentoring Partnership and volunteer as a mentor to get matched with a job-ready newcomer who shares your profession. Mentoring is proven to help newcomers understand their profession in the Canadian context and gain insight into the Canadian job market. 75% of our mentees report finding work in their professional field within 12 months of completing the program.

PINS: Professional Immigrant Networks are organized around the common experience of newcomers from a particular cultural group or occupation. The groups are led by volunteers who were once newcomers themselves and are interested in helping make the journey easier for others. See a full list of our current PINS networks on our website.

Other Supporting Programs and Resources:

Our partners also offer a range of programs and resources to support all newcomers in getting job-ready, and many have programs specifically for Syrian refugees.

Programs and resources specifically for Syrian refugee newcomers:

Our other partners providing programs for all newcomers:

Community MicroSkills Development Centre Humber College
COSTI JobStart
Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre Seneca College
Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre Sheridan College
George Brown College Skills for Change

More resources for Syrian newcomers:

LifeLine Syria The Refugee Career Jumpstart Project (RCJP)
The Arab Community Centre of Toronto (ACCT) SPAN – Syrian Professionals Active Network
Enactus Ryerson’s Project Welcome  Catholic Crosscultural Services