Newcomers often have difficulty understanding their career fit when they arrive in Canada, but the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum is trying to make getting information about apprenticeships and trades a lot easier.
The organization has created an online tool called On the Move. It asks people interested in apprenticeships and trades to answer four simple questions. Based on the answers given, the tool takes users to a page of info that is specific to their needs, depending on whether they are in or out of Canada, and specific to their target province. The results page offers links to more detailed resources, but keeps everything that is needed on one page, handy and convenient to return to as items are completed.
The tool is also great for newcomers who have already made the move to Canada. It helps employment counsellors and career facilitators too.
Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF-FCA’s Executive Director, says her agency is trying to simplify and streamline the apprenticeship and trades process for newcomers. When each province has differing systems, it can be a challenge to understand.
“We’re trying to meet people where they are, to give a high enough level overview that someone’s not coming in confused,” she said.
The organization is also trying to help newcomers get information early before they leave their home countries. The tool will inform people still in their home countries about requirements like educational documents and references that can be collected and organized before arriving in Canada.
It’s very common to hear, “I wish I’d known…” and “If I’d known, I could have more easily got a letter,” Watts-Rynard says. The On the Move tool is intended to prevent those regrets.
The tool is also useful for newcomers living in B.C. but considering a move to one of the other 10 provinces or 3 territories. Each location has its own system with differing criteria.
Immigrants to Canada can access trades jobs in two ways: by apprenticing and by challenging trade exams. In B.C., the ITA (Industry Trade Authority) leads and coordinates the province’s skilled trades system. You can find the ITA at www.itabc.ca but now the On the Move tool will also help you get to the right pages of the site.
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.