MYWAY is a nine-month employment program designed for immigrant and refugee women between the ages of 18 to 30 who live in the Saskatoon community. This program consists of a six-month classroom portion followed by a 12-week work placement. The work placement is intended to give participants real Canadian work experience, provide networking opportunities, and allow them to gain Canadian employment references. Participants are placed based on their skills, abilities, education, English proficiency, past work experience, and area of interest. The classroom portion is divided into two sections: employability and life skills development.
The program is accessible for any woman who is:
- unemployed or underemployed and has little to no prior work experience in Canada;
- between 18 and 30 years of age during the classroom portion of the program;
- a permanent resident or a person who has been granted refugee status in Canada; and
- not on employment insurance (since this is a paid employment program) and has not received employment insurance within the past three/five years (three years for basic employment insurance and five years for maternity benefits).
Formal feedback is given by the participants during the final week of the program in the form of a comprehensive questionnaire and group discussions. During the course of the program, feedback from participants is encouraged at all stages through group discussions and private conversations. Staff find the feedback given by program participants extremely valuable and attempts are made to adjust the program as necessary to ensure that they are getting the most out of the program.
Funding is provided by CIC, HRSDC, and Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration (AEEI). All three agencies provide extra support, through expert speakers, tours (e.g., CanSask’s employment centre), and publications used in classroom sessions. The Saskatchewan Intercultural Association (SIA) has a broad network consisting of community-serving organizations and NGOs, members of the business community, educational institutions, unions, and all levels of government. These partnerships allow SIA to access experts in a wide variety of fields; arrange work placement, volunteer opportunities, and tours; and refer participants to other organizations (e.g., for counselling, recreation, or employment opportunities) as necessary.
SIA follows up with each participant 12 weeks after they end the program to check the success of the program (finding employment or full-time attendance at an educational institution is considered a successful outcome). In addition, SIA keeps records of all participants, including whether or not they successfully completed training offered through the program, whether or not they completed the classroom and work placement sections, attendance, and reasons for non-completion (if applicable). Information is sent to all of the funding agencies as required - in most cases, this includes monthly detailed updates on the program’s activities, finances, and participants’ progress.
To date, MYWAY participants have been placed in work environments such as banking, advertising, hospitality industry, tourism, health care, engineering, and accounting. All participants in the program receive training in: basic computer skills, First Aid/CPR (level C), Food Safety (level 1), and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. The MYWAY Program has been highly successful. Of the 13 participants in the 2009-2010 intake, all but one either found work or returned to school within 12 weeks of the project’s completion. Within six months, all 13 participants had successful outcomes.
The training provided through the MYWAY Program is, for the most part, transferable to any other province or territory in the country (the only exception may be individual training chosen by the participant – e.g., medical terminology). The essential employment and life skills provided through MYWAY, as well as the official language training (in this case, English) and integration activities will be of benefit to program participants whether they choose to remain in Saskatchewan or move to another part of the country. Staff also believes that the program itself would be successful anywhere in Canada.
- Service Providers
- Saskatchewan Intercultural Association
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration (AEEI).
- Saskatoon, SK
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Immigrant and refugee women 18 to 30 years old (with preference given to women with lower levels of education - some college or less)
- Expected Results
Labour Market Access (Newcomers obtain the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education)
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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