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New Canadians fill labour shortage

Industry initiatives are finding jobs for new Canadians – and this proactivity is also fixing the skilled labour shortage at the same time. Specifically, the program Immigrants in Trades Training (ITT) has recently assisted Abinder Sharma to re-establish his career in the trades. The ITT mandate is the initiative of the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

According to the B.C. Trade Occupations Outlook, the province can expect to experience a skilled labour shortage of at least 160,000 by 2015. ITT is assisting skilled new Canadians who already have technical skills from their home countries, but need Canadian certification.

Sharma was an experienced electrician and electrical engineer in India. In 2010, he moved to British Columbia with his wife and two daughters to pursue better opportunities for his family. However, Sharma was concerned that differences in his certification, his culture and his age would stop him from doing the type of skilled work here that he had done as an electrical engineer in India.

With the help of the ITT program, Sharma received personalized support, mentorship, and financial assistance to pay for the courses he needed in order to learn about the Canadian Electrical Code and to challenge the Red Seal.

“It was a tough decision to come to Canada and start over again. This program helped me get my previous work experience recognized. Now I'm working at a level similar to where I was in India,” he says.

In early 2011, Sharma passed the Red Seal exam. As a Red Seal certified electrician, the Surrey resident was able to secure a full-time position as a construction manager with BC Hydro at its Mica Generating Station, north of Revelstoke.

Bill Hanson, an engineering team lead with BC Hydro, says Sharma reinforces the value of both ITT and hiring a skilled new Canadian.

“When we met Abinder, it was obvious he was qualified for the job,” says Hanson. “It makes sense to hire a skilled immigrant who has work experience and just needs Canadian certification.”

                                                                                                                      – News Canada 

Posted: Jul 3, 2013

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