British Columbia, has a new tool to help fill some of the 934,000 job openings expected through 2025. The Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC) has expanded to prepare skilled immigrants for work in Canada and connect employers with internationally trained workers.
Initially designed to facilitate access to three skilled trades in British Columbia, FAST (Free and Secure Trade) has evolved into a comprehensive set of services and resources for immigrant workers in 35 skilled trades, 16 occupations in IT and Data Services and 17 occupations in biotechnology and life sciences.
FAST gives skilled immigrants a head start in the Canadian labor market before actually moving to Canada. Along with information about the Canadian workplace, the online program provides immigrants with a comprehensive assessment of their competencies, including recommendations to improve their knowledge when needed in specific areas, as well as alternative careers where their skills are in demand. The results of the FAST assessment also present employers with a trusted snapshot of the abilities the prospective candidate brings to the table.
“Immigration plays an important role in keeping Canada competitive in a global economy, and preparing immigrants to succeed in our labor market –- before they even arrive –- is essential to this,” says the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Through initiatives like this, we’re helping newcomers to Canada hit the ground running, strengthening our labour force and economy, as soon as they arrive.”
Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the FAST Program is a partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and IEC-BC is also enjoying content support from BioTalent Canada and the Information Communication Technology Council (ICTC).
“For over 50 years, BCIT has been equipping students with the skills they need to excel from day-one in their careers,” says BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. Currently, more than 160 clients who have been approved to immigrate to Canada use FAST.
Once participants complete the online learning within FAST, registered employers can connect with them through an easy-to-use database.
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