Settlement Practitioner Training and Accreditation Program

The Settlement Practitioner Training and Accreditation Program (SPTA) is based on occupational competencies determined to be central to best practices in providing settlement and integration support services to newcomers to Canada.

"Being an accredited settlement practitioner makes me feel very knowledgeable, skilful and competent in the work that I do. This designation gives me the protection and security that I need in performing my duties and responsibilities … It makes me very confident to represent the Settlement Sector and my Agency at any time and proud of myself in the professional arena."

Accessibility

The program is available to settlement staff at immigrant-serving agencies who are members of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA). Current membership consists of 19 agencies serving at least 12 communities in Alberta.

Newcomer Involvement

As clients of the program, settlement agencies and their staff participate in 14 training sessions per year in Edmonton and Calgary and have three opportunities to get certified at one of three levels of certification. A committee comprised of eight members from agencies throughout the province guides the implementation of policy and the standards by which settlement practitioners are certified. The committee also identifies training needs and addresses emerging issues affecting certification and training.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Agency leadership, settlement practitioners, funders, and facilitators are given the opportunity to participate in the design, development, and implementation of training and certification components. Agency leadership provides input during two annual consultations with the membership and they also populate the committee that advises the SPTA project coordinator on the program. The project coordinator is also available to settlement practitioners in person during training sessions, pays visits to the agencies, and responds by email and phone to any questions or comments that practitioners may have. The funders provide input on standards for measuring outputs and outcomes. Facilitators provide insights into the content of the modules and the curriculum.

Accountability

Settlement practitioners evaluate the training that they participate in; the evaluations are made available to the SPTA project coordinator, the SPTA committee, facilitators, the AAISA membership, and the funders. The program provides reports to the funders with a detailed account of attendance at training sessions and the number of certifications that are completed each year.

Positive Outcome

Settlement practitioners develop the core skills (e.g., cross-cultural competencies, awareness of settlement and immigration policy, non-clinical counselling, and needs assessment) required to provide services to clients with an increased degree of professionalism and intentionality. The agencies are able to provide high quality support, guidance, and services to their clientele thanks to the emergence of a professionalized staff. Since the certification program began, over 140 Settlement Practitioners in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been certified. AAISA has certified 20 Settlement Practitioners as Mentors; 71 as Level 3 Settlement Practitioners and 51 as Level 2 Settlement Practitioners.

"The modules and training enabled my performance enhancement by way of giving me strength and better understanding of my workplace environment and operations as well as my position in the community with which I work. Now I can do better to help newcomers become self-dependent."

Transferability

The program in its entirety, or any of the training or certification components, could be used in other contexts quite easily. AAISA already has an agreement with the Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies (SAISIA) to provide certification to Settlement Practitioners working at SAISIA member agencies.

Background

Service Providers
Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA)
Funders
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Alberta Employment and Immigration
Scope
Provincial/Territorial
Locations
Across Alberta
Year of Launch
1989 (for training component) / 2004 (for certification component)
Languages of Delivery
English
Newcomer Groups Served
Settlement practitioners at AAISA member agencies
Expected Results
Policy and Program Development (to ensure effective delivery and achieve comparable settlement outcomes across Canada)
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