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Investments in mentoring support skilled newcomers to Canada

The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) announced investments totalling $1.64 million in its program, The Mentoring Partnership, from the RBC Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

The Mentoring Partnership pairs skilled immigrants with mentors in their professional field.

“Mentoring is a solution that works,” said Margaret Eaton, TRIEC’s Executive Director.

“Seventy-five per cent of immigrants who go through the program find work in their field within 12 months. The goal now is to grow the program so we can reach even more immigrants. This investment will help us achieve that goal.”

A recent impact assessment by the Boston Consulting Group, completed as part of a partnership with LEAP: The Centre for Social Impact, found that for every $1 invested in The Mentoring Partnership, approximately $10-11 of benefit to society could be attributed to the program.

This benefit also implies that the initial investment per mentee is paid back within two years.

With the program’s impact clear, TRIEC has been working with pro bono support from LEAP and its sector partners the Boston Consulting Group, McCarthy Tétrault, Hill+Knowlton, Ernst & Young and the Offord Group, and Cossette, on a plan to scale the program for the last two years, to reach and impact more immigrants.

This plan is now getting off the ground thanks to significant grant investments from funders from both the private and public sector.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the government of Ontario, awarded a three-year, $750,000 Grow grant in late 2015, the RBC Foundation invested $500,000 over two years and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration invested $393,950 over two years.

Han Dong, MPP for Trinity-Spadina, said: “The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) supports innovative programs with the potential for high impact, so they are excited to provide this new funding for The Mentoring Partnership. Mentoring benefits both skilled newcomers and the wider community, and through this investment, OTF hopes to see many more lives changed for the better”.

“RBC has been a longtime employer partner in The Mentoring Partnership, and we’ve seen first-hand the remarkable impact of this unique mentoring model,” said Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC.

“It’s very powerful, as we can see from the outcomes. But what’s not as obvious is the personal and professional growth for the mentors. They see both the economic opportunity and the human side, because it’s no longer hypothetical; it’s now about a real person’s experiences. It speaks to both the head and the heart, taking reciprocal learning to a whole new dimension.”

Minister Laura Albanese, from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, said: “Mentorship can make a huge impact in newcomers’ lives, as they begin their settlement in Ontario. I am pleased that our funding will support TRIEC’s new referral program, so that more skilled immigrants can gain access to mentors. Newcomers play a key role in our economy and our labour market. The sooner they can find meaningful employment, the sooner we can all start reaping the benefits of their success.”

This investment will allow TRIEC to strengthen The Mentoring Partnership’s infrastructure and marketing capacities so that it can support a larger volume of mentees and mentors in the program. However, increased investment is still needed to reach the program’s growth targets in Toronto, support mentoring nationally and ensure the long-term sustainability of mentoring.

“The significant contributions of these three funders go a long way to growing this program,” said Eaton. “However, this program is truly a partnership and depends on the work of 15 community-based service delivery partners. We are still looking to secure long-term funding so these partners can meet the increased demands for mentors and ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.”

The Mentoring Partnership brings together recent skilled immigrants in the Toronto Region and established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships. TRIEC helps employers make the most of the GTA’s culturally diverse workforce.

More at the www.mentoringpartnership.com and www.triec.ca.

Posted: Oct 31, 2016

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