Just two years into the National Mentoring Partnership program, we’ve already seen what kind of positive impact that collective action can have for mentoring across Canada.
There have been 750 successful partnerships so far, and more mentors are on the way. RBC is providing more employees as volunteer mentors to more cities across Canada. New cohorts of mentees and mentors will match in the new year in Halifax, Niagara region, Edmonton and Calgary, with Ottawa and London to follow soon after. One of our mentoring partners in the National Mentoring Partnership is Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). As they look to start their new partnership with RBC, we spoke to Ritu Ganju, ISANS’ professional mentorship program coordinator, about being part of the National Mentoring Partnership and how mentoring is leading to meaningful employment for newcomers in her province.
Photo: Ritu (right) presents a certificate to a volunteer mentor.
How does ISANS support newcomers in Nova Scotia?
Ritu: We work with newcomers to help them build a future in Canada. We provide a wide range of services to immigrants, from refugee resettlement to professional programs, from family counselling to English in the Workplace.
ISANS was created by the merger of Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA) and Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre (HILC) – together we have a combined experience of over fifty years serving immigrants in Nova Scotia. We are the largest immigrant-serving agency in Atlantic Canada with over 270 staff members from more than 64 countries. We offer services in an inclusive manner, respectful of, and sensitive to, diversity. We make partnership, professionalism and accountability a priority in every aspect of our work.
You’re about to start a new partnership with RBC. What impact do you think this will have?
We have worked very closely with RBC in the past. This new partnership will help to spread the word across their organization. It will help recruit multiple employees from within and provide them with an opportunity to share their experiences and learning. It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved. Our clients will be able to learn about the banking industry from the best in the industry!
What are some common challenges that new Canadians experience finding employment in your region, and how has mentoring been a solution?
Common challenges include:
- Creating professional connections
- Confidence and identifying realistic career goals
- Insight into the professional terminology used in the local industry
- Insight into the work culture in Nova Scotia
- Facing interviews
- Local references
Mentors support newcomers in one-on-one meetings to discuss all of the above and empower our clients to succeed.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in terms of meeting mentee needs in Nova Scotia?
The biggest challenge has been recruiting mentors to volunteer in a timely manner. With the support of RBC, we will reduce the time span in matching our clients to professionals in their field. RBC employees have skills that will help us in matching clients from financial, banking, customer support, HR–to name just a few!
Why is it critical for national employers like RBC to work with mentoring partners like ISANS to deliver mentoring?
Working with ISANS and partnering on a national level will enhance the image of RBC and will exemplify the fact that RBC is made of supportive and caring employees. It will work well for their business and will connect them with prospective employees. This partnership will further make Nova Scotia welcoming and “create a community where all can belong and grow” (ISANS Vision).
Overall, we looked at [the National Mentoring Partnership] as an opportunity to widen our reach, learn from others, and share our strengths.
For more information on becoming a national employer, reach out to the program lead: Karen Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.