Breakfast of (Immigration) Champions

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When it comes to promoting diversity and integrating more immigrants into the local workforce, support is needed from a wide range of stakeholders. On April 12, AXIS hosted a Breakfast and Information session in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada and The Alliance of Sector Councils on ‘Enhancing Your Competitiveness with Internationally Trained Workers’. 


We were pleased to see how many people came out to the event. The audience was comprised of a cross-section of representatives from government, sectors, and local employers, each with ties to a different industry and with different knowledge of immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador. The presence clearly demonstrated investment within all levels of the province to improve the recognition of immigrants’ skills and experience in the workforce..


Following breakfast and opening remarks by Eileen Kelly-Freake, the Director of Employment Programs and Services at AXIS, presentations began outlining the national and local benefits of hiring internationally trained workers. Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador's Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, Nellie Burke, provided a context for the history of immigration in the province, before outlining current strategies the province has employed in recent years to increase and improve local immigration, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, participating in international Immigration Fairs, and Mutliculturalism Week. 


Dr. Michelle Downey from the Conference Board of Canada next provided a federal outlook on immigration, particularly the positively projected economic advantages to hiring and retaining immigrants. Her presentation of the Conference Board’s Employer’s Toolkit - A Roadmap for Employers offered great tips on how employers can navigate some of the supposed barriers when considering hiring newcomers. The employer panel, which closed off the morning, gave this Toolkit particular relevance, as we were able to see these tips in action. Two of AXIS' employer partners, BoomI.T. and Power Vac–BELFOR, presented on their experiences hiring internationally trained workers. They discussed the benefits diversity has brought to their businesses and how their employees have grown within their respective companies. 


“Internationally trained new hires are loyal and dedicated workers” said Kyron Laffan of PowerVac-BELFOR. “They are quick to learn and are interested in using their skills to advance in their job.”


Sean Kwekkeboom of BoomI.T. spoke on his participation in AXIS’ Internship Placement Program, particularly noting the quality of AXIS referrals, and how the assessment and verification of intern candidates skills have proved especially valuable in his unregulated industry. 


The breakfast and information session was a chance for invested and interested individuals to explore the next steps for continued progress with regards to  immigrant integration and retention in the workplace. Immigration is a cornerstone of Canada’s economic development, yet the presentations and comments from the session reminded everyone that equally important are the intangible benefits of diversity.