Tourism and hospitality careers: free employment program aims to bridge gap for newcomers to BC

Gateway to Tourism Hospitality Jobs for Newcomers offers fully funded training opportunities and personalized support for both jobseekers and employers

While British Columbia’s tourism and hospitality sectors face labor shortages, ISSonBritish Columbia’s new Gateway to Tourism and Hospitality Jobs initiative provides a lifeline for both newcomer job seekers and employers eager for a skilled workforce.

The program offers personalized training and a range of resources aimed at integrating immigrants into thriving sectors.

For newcomers to Canada, entering the hospitality and tourism sectors can be a difficult task due to a lack of local experience, credentials or connections. Gateway aims to reduce these challenges by offering fully funded training opportunities, one-on-one support, mentoring from industry experts and direct links with employers.

The program’s dedicated staff develop personalized career plans for each participant, focusing on individual needs. Participants also have access to occupation-specific language training to build industry-relevant English communication skills.

“The program offered me a lot of support in many ways, especially emotional support from my case manager, who spent a lot of time on calls and emails with me,” says program participant Pouria Kariamyan.

“Every day there are new challenges that I have to find answers to, but the ISSonBC helped me find answers and resolve these situations. I definitely recommend this program to anyone coming to Canada who is passionate about travel and tourism.”

For employers, the program extends fully funded training sessions covering a myriad of topics, including recruiting and retaining newcomers, building intercultural competence, and promoting anti-oppression and intersectionality. This initiative, supported by the Government of Canada, allows businesses to promote a more inclusive and diverse work environment.

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Gateway is committed to working closely with local employers and forming partnerships aimed at providing them with pre-vetted clients equipped with the necessary skills. The goal is to improve employee retention rates by proactively addressing potential challenges. Employers also have the opportunity to attend job fairs, post job advertisements and access a library of online resources to develop skills for their staff.

“ISSonBC is able to support me by connecting me with suitable, qualified candidates who have a passion for working in the hospitality industry,” said Manny Judge, director of talent acquisition at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

Gateway emphasizes the importance of professional networking by offering personalized connections for clients to meet like-minded professionals and seek mentorship. The program also provides insight into employer expectations, preparing clients to access the hidden labor market and gain invaluable Canadian work experience.

“When I came here, I didn’t even realize exactly what skills I would need. ISSonBC helped me find the right courses I need to do this type of work in this country,” says program participant Tamara Shautsova.

While the program has had initial success, the focus is on attracting more participants and employers, both in and outside of Vancouver. Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to explore the program webpage for more information and complete their registrations to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

The Gateway to Tourism and Hospitality program is a testament to British Columbia’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce. By bridging the gap between newcomers and employers in the tourism and hospitality sectors, the program aims to contribute to the individual success stories and overall growth of the industry in the province.

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This project is partially funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Initiatives Program.

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