FAQs

Why is there a skills shortage?

How can immigration help?

How can we access immigrants’ valuable skills?

Who Can Participate?

Who pays for Skills Connect?

How does Skills Connect work?

Why is there a skills shortage?

  • The B.C. government projects over a million job openings between 2003 and 2015. The Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development considers the following five sectors as facing significant pressure: construction, transportation, health, tourism/hospitality, and energy.
  • By 2010, there will be more than 123,900 new jobs in healthcare, 65,000 new jobs in construction, and 54,000 new jobs in transportation.
  • Approximately half the job openings will be due to new job creation and half due to retirement.
  • The number of jobs created is more than the number of available skilled workers, leading to a steady decline in unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers.
  • The B.C. Human Resource Strategy identifies immigration as an important resource to help address the shortfall.

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How can immigration help?

  • Historically, B.C. receives over 35,000 immigrants each year. In 2005, 44,734 new immigrants came to B.C., significantly higher than the year before.
  • An increasing number of immigrants (67% in 2005) are in the economic class—people selected for their skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy—including skilled workers, business people, and provincial nominees.
  • Many have foreign qualifications in occupations where there are existing or emerging skills shortages.
  • Unfortunately, research shows recently arrived immigrants are experiencing higher rates of unemployment, lower initial earnings, and higher incidences of poverty than in the past.
  • Obstacles faced by immigrants include: lack of timely foreign credential recognition, lower levels of language ability, lack of understanding of the Canadian work culture, and lack of an employment-related network or Canadian work experience.

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How can we access immigrants’ valuable skills?

  • Skills Connect is part of the Skills Connect initiative, a $14.5 million strategy to help highly skilled immigrants move more quickly into jobs that match their qualifications.
  • The strategy targets those immigrants who do not require completely new credentials or extensive language upgrading to quickly secure employment in areas relevant to their skills and experience.
  • Skills Connect is managed by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Citizenship and Immigration Canada and delivered through third-party service agencies, including Back in Motion and MOSAIC..
  • Skills Connect will help skilled immigrants get their qualifications recognized, access skills upgrading (if required), and find jobs that match their pre-landing skills, qualifications and experience.
  • Skills Connect’s experienced staff will support and mentor all SkillsConnect clients to ensure they find success in the Canadian workplace.

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Who Can Participate?

  • Eligible program participants MUST have permanent resident status in Canada.
  • It is preferred that program participants also meet the following criteria:
    • Have arrived in Canada within the last 5 years
    • Have at least intermediate English language skills
    • Are either unemployed and not receiving provincial or federal assistance, or are under employed and not working at a level that utilizes their pre-arrival skills, experience and knowledge

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Who pays for Skills Connect?

  • All services provided by Skills Connect are fully funded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Additional financial support is also available for skill upgrading activities such as course fees, membership fees, licensing fees, and certification fees.
  • Skills Connect is free to employers who hire, provide mentorship, or welcome clients for work experience.

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How does Skills Connect work?

Each client will work one to one with an employment counsellor and a job developer through one or more of the following activities depending on individual needs:

  • Assessment and Individual Action Planning:

Assess your skills and background to identify the right career for you in B.C. Develop a personalized career action plan that outlines all the steps required to attain your career goal.

The specific activities involved in this component include:

    • Assessment of English language skills, academic qualifications, technical skills, essential skills, career management skills, and financial means
    • Identifying short and long term employment goals
    • Development of an individualized career action plan
    • Information and referral to appropriate services
  • Skill Enhancement Services:

Need your B.C. certification or an upgrade to Canada’s requirements? Need to become a member of a professional association or take a course to enhance your skills? Carry out your career action plan and access the training you need through Skills Connect.

The specific activities accessed through this component include:

    • All fees applicable to regulatory bodies and professional associations for certification and licensing requirements
    • Document translation and credential evaluation assistance
    • Upgrading English language skills, job search skills, career management skills, essential skills, and technical skills
    • Limited academic upgrading
    • Orientation to workplace culture
  • Workplace Orientation and Practice Services:

Not sure about the local workplace or how to find a job in your profession? Skills Connect will help you gain valuable Canadian work experience by connecting you with employers that need your skills. Practice your interviewing skills, access job mentorship or training opportunities, access job leads, and find employment. Skills Connect will help you every step of the way.

The specific activities involved in this component include:

    • Providing pre-employment coaching and support—building self confidence and refining interview skills
    • Advising of job leads, assisting with arranging informational and job interviews
    • Mentorship and/or job shadowing
    • Workplace orientation
    • Résumé/cover letter writing

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