Professional scientific newcomers face challenges finding jobs but thanks to companies like Maxxam Analytics, gaining Canadian experience has become a little easier.
At the same time, the Lower Mainland corporation has also been able to expand its business thanks to new hires that have stretched its capabilities.
This was the topic of a presentation by Maxxam Analytics HR Specialist Darlene Hunter at AMSSA’s recent BC/Yukon Immigrant Integration Summit held in Richmond in November as a forum for discussing newcomer integration needs.
For Darlene, having a hiring partner/stakeholder who understood her organization was paramount. She told the audience that Maxxam, which provides analytical services and solutions to the energy, environmental, food and DNA industries, has worked for close to five years in a partnership with ISSofBC, in particular with MAPLE 2.0 and Employer Relations Specialist Ines Montoya. During that time, the company was able to mentor and even hire several skilled newcomers who have since helped to establish new accreditations.
The partnership resulted in multiple initiatives right from the beginning.
“Together we created a strategic plan which included a customized presentation and diversity training for Maxxam. Embracing diversity is one of Maxxam’s core values so it wasn’t a “hard sell” to the management leadership team but it had to make business sense,” Darlene said.
By 2010, Maxxam was facing challenges hiring the staff it needed. The company simply could not find all the qualified professionals required for the accreditations needed. The talent search was starting to lead Hunter beyond BC and even beyond national borders. However, that was the moment when she connected with ISSofBC.
With Montoya and the MAPLE 2.0 program, Darlene felt she had found a partner who understood her business needs. The two professionals sat down with a goal to understand Maxxam culture and values, barriers and training concerns. All that planning and organization resulted in a program that is win-win for newcomers and the company.
Those wins indicate that the successful integration of newcomers into the Canadian economy requires a thoughtful, planned approach which goes beyond basic referral. Simply forwarding a client resume to an HR staff member is only part of a much larger package.
“Immigrant providers should connect with employers to attend job fairs, be participants for round table discussions and perhaps in-class presentations,” the HR Specialist said.
As a result of the partnership with ISSofBC, Maxxam has experienced direct benefits. In one case, the mentorship program led Maxxam to hire two high skilled newcomers which allowed the ability to receive an accreditation in the Microbiology team. In another example, a highly-skilled newcomer who started as an intern was hired for the Research and Development Team for Forensic Equine Drug Testing.
For the future, Darlene hopes for continued improvement to programs that will allow more barriers to be eliminated. Funding for interns for transit cost, subsidy for wages, certification and translated document cost waived and daycare subsidy would all help newcomers and organizations to work together. Similarly, she would like to see enhanced information for employers about grants and training/wage subsidy. Finally, occasional round-table discussions involving employers would allow companies to share best practices and great ideas.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.