Right now there is still that stigma of immigrant’s versus the local employees. Often the immigrants coming here have technical qualifications; they might have a master’s degree, PHD or might have a very high level experience in their home country. It is difficult to get a similar job in the initial years.
Our biggest challenge as an organization is funding.
Our employment program is definitely growing. When we started this program it was a very small. Initially it required promotion and now we have a waiting list as our classes are too full.
By Shivani Sharma
Newcomer Centre of Peel (NCP) is a multi-service agency that assists the entire newcomer family in achieving settlement. Its vision is to continue to evolve together as a community! With experience and expertise in English language training; employability and business start-up and comprehensive settlement services including programs for women, youth and seniors; NCP offers a dedication to service quality. NCP offers a youth program called Creating Connections and a senior program called Senior Program. The program for seniors aims to prevent isolation, encourage healthy living, and manage any chronic illnesses they may have at that age.
NCP encourages newcomers to be involved in the community projects to develop a social network to feel at home. NCP has also a very successful co-op placement. Its success ranges between 97 to 100 percent.
NCP’s Women Can Do It program enables women to be independent and to feel confident.
Generation Next conversed with Priyanka Sekhar, Communications specialist to know more about the Organization.
Do you find that many South Asian immigrants need English language services?
In India, a lot of them usually know English. If you go into Pakistan or any of those northern areas, they sometimes require more English training. For the most part they [immigrants from South Asia] do have a good handle on the language and there might be some other settlement issues that they need to be looking into to get some help with.
Are the needs of male immigrants a little different from female immigrants?
Yes, most certainly; it doesn’t matter which country you are from, the obligations of the female clients..are heavier simply because they take the primary burden for the upbringing of the children while for men it is [to bring] income.
So for the Daycare facility what is the age group that you generally take care of?
I believe it is 18 months until they get to preschool age.
Do you help in finding people jobs?
We have specialists who help them with [writing] resumes, mock interviews, to look for immediate job, survival jobs. We have job developers who assist in jobs of their specific field and profession.
With the job market not doing great in Canada, what kind of challenges do you face?
Right now there is still that stigma of immigrant’s versus the local employees. Often the immigrants coming here have technical qualifications; they might have a master’s degree, PHD or might have a very high level experience in their home country. It is difficult to get a similar job in the initial years. We have a good IT club with hundreds of members, having a good opportunity to network with each other, listen to very knowledgeable people in the industry. It helps them to enter the industry, build contacts locally that are related to their profession in Canada.
How many immigrants do you serve a year?
We serve thousands. Just our LINC program serves 1500 [immigrants] a year. We have settlement workers in schools in the peel region area and they serve around 4,000 to 5,000 a year.
Generally speaking, what age immigrants do you serve?
We have a relatively young age group..about 32 percent [are] between the ages of 30-39 years. That is relatively young, they are usually young couples, may be with very young children. They require full daycare facility before entering full day schooling. Similarly we have another large group almost 32 percent between the age group of 40 and 55 years.
How are you better than other settlement agencies?
It is the quality of our service. We get a lot of clients that are actually leaving other organizations and coming here. We get feedback from them, telling us how dissatisfied they were from other organizations. More often they are singing our praises to their friends and family. Most of the clients come through word of mouth. And then they encourage us to join them as well. We also have their online presence on websites like Facebook, Twitter etc.
How diverse is your staff, volunteers etc?
We are very inclusive. Our units of workforce are very multi-cultural. Officially we have 13 languages that are spoken here. Unofficially we have doubled that and we are all open to each other.
What major challenges are you currently facing?
Our biggest challenge as an organization is funding. There are funders and I appreciate that they are still with us. We are officially a charity. Donations and contributions from outside sources are always welcome. So right now we are looking for funds to ensure that we continue to maintain the quality.
What is the organization’s vision for the next five years, and how does this department or division fit in?
In the next five years we are looking to expand all our programs. I think our employment program is definitely growing. When we started this program it was a very small. Initially it required promotion and now we have a waiting list as our classes are too full.