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Customized Employment Support for Syrian Newcomers

Approximately 35,745 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since November 4, 2015. Communities across Canada continue to welcome and support Syrians newcomers to ensure their successful settlement and integration. At ACCES Employment, our efforts began with the donations we raised through our 2016 World of Difference campaign. This support allowed us to launch into action and begin serving this group of newcomers in the GTA.

ACCES has been actively involved in supporting Syrian newcomers in two key ways:

  1. Community collaboration
  2. Direct delivery of employment services.

Community Collaboration

Working closely with community partners, employers, and other agencies, ACCES has engaged in a collective approach to serving Syrian newcomers. Working together with other organizations across the GTA, we have ensured that clients have easy access to a full range of services that Syrian newcomers need, including: settlement, housing, healthcare and employment. Through this collaborative approach, ACCES has been involved in organizing a number of different job fairs, workshops and employment related events. In June, ACCES Employment partnered with TRIEC, Magnet and the CASIP network to organize a job fair that served 192 Syrian newcomers and other job seekers. The event included over 20 employers from across the GTA with job postings in a variety of sectors and roles. Events such as these help Syrian newcomers gain valuable job search tips and build connections with employers who are looking to hire.

Direct Delivery of Employment Services

At ACCES Employment we have developed and implemented new programs and services to provide tailored support for Syrian newcomers. We have hired Arabic-speaking staff and translated resources and learning materials. We received additional funding support from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), as well as United Way Toronto and York Region to meet the growing employment needs of Syrian newcomers to the GTA. Across our five locations, we have worked with 420 Syrian clients who have accessed a range of services at ACCES including: Employment Ontario, sector-specific bridging programs, and language training programs. Today, nearly half are already employed or in training programs.

Recently, ACCES launched Employment Connections for Newcomer Youth, a program designed to help immigrant youth find employment in the areas of Customer Service and General Labour. The material for this program has been translated into Arabic and our outreach has been focused on Syrian newcomer youth.

In early 2017, ACCES launched our Construction Trades Program in collaboration with a number of key supporters across Toronto. This pilot program will help Syrian newcomers to find work in the construction trades. Program components include Construction Health and Safety Training, Working at Heights, WHMIS, Construction Skills Training including, Forklift and Elevated Work Platform (EWP) and much more.

ACCES Employment, in partnership with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), created a customized Entrepreneurship Connections program for Syrian newcomers. The overall goal of the tailored Entrepreneurship Connections program is to help Syrian newcomer entrepreneurs with business language training, mentoring, and other supports so that they can overcome the unique barriers they face to successfully start their business in Canada. The training will be co-delivered with BDC and a number of subject matter experts in Arabic and English in a two-week condensed format. Upon completion, mentorship support (in Arabic and English) will be provided to help the participants as they move forward to draft their own Business Plans and launch their business start-ups.

Samer Juha

Syrian Success Story Samer Juha, a Syrian newcomer, came to Canada by himself in hopes of a brighter future. With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance and work experience in banking management, Samer was looking for employment opportunities in his field. In the face of financial hardship, however, Samer took on a survival job to generate some much needed income. After coming to ACCES Employment, Samer attended several Speed Mentoring® events and job fairs relevant to his work experience. He received resume critique, interview prep, and support with job applications. Through ACCES, Samer was connected with RBC where he successfully secured a position as a Derivatives Reconciliation Administrator.

“ACCES Employment was a milestone in my life, changing my entire perspective on professional employment services. I received objective guidance and focused professional networking techniques which, in the end, enabled me to secure a job in my field. I am quite sure that I would not have received this job without ACCES's amazing support, positive feedback, and commitment to help." - Samer Juha