3rd Annual Skills Connect Health Consortium

Annual Consortium to bridge the Credential and Employment Gap for Internationally Educated Health Professionals

VANCOUVER—In 2007 the B.C. Government began funding a program called Skills Connect for Immigrants—Health, an employment bridging program to assist IEHPs (Internationally Educated Health Professionals) with upgrading, credential recognition, licensing and employment. Back in Motion and Douglas College were the successful proponents to deliver these services to the Skilled Immigrants. The Skills Connect Health consortium and advisory started soon thereafter with the mandate to overcome obstacles, facilitate communication and make things work better and more simply for e.g., the Nurse, or Physical Therapist who has training, skills and experience in their home country. The Consortium just had its 3rd annual meeting on November 26, 2009 to discuss the successes achieved, the changes required, and work to be done in the upcoming year. The Consortium advisory group meets 5–6 times per year, is a subset of the larger Consortium, and is charged with doing the work of the larger group.

So what has happened in these past 2 years? Well, to date 1000 IEHPs have entered the program. Of these 270 who have completed the program, and 80% have found employment. In addition, working groups of employers have met, English language training for the workplace courses have started, and regulatory bodies have streamlined and improved their processes. Most importantly communication and dialogue continues about how to do better and improve cumbersome and outdated structures. But there is still a lot of work to be done. And the work and change required in these kind of complicated interconnected systems moves unbelievably slowly despite best efforts and intentions. As hard as it is, we need to be patient and diligently challenge old ways of doing things. Of course, just when we think we’re doing better there will be new challenges to any progress made, such as the current Health Authority amalgamations, and changing personnel. In the words of Mr. Minhas, a foreign trained pharmacist from Egypt who has been successful at getting his credentials recognized, passing examinations, attaining Pharmacy Registration in B.C., and securing employment in his field, “you will always fail at 100% of the challenges you do not take!”.

This year was a special treat as it included speeches from three clients on some of the challenges and successes that they have experienced. 

In this release we have also included a link to some pictures from this years consortium. View Images >