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These FREE employment programs offer valuable career training for newcomer and refugee women in Metro Vancouver

 Photo: YWCA

For those who are new to Canada, making the first steps into employment may seem like a daunting task. It’s not only about finding work, it’s also about finding a career that is a good match to their skills, experience and expectations.

Language barriers, lack of a professional network or Canadian experience make it indisputably more challenging for newcomer and refugee women to find jobs, let alone careers with meaning. The good news is that it’s possible and gets easier with the right assistance and advice.

YWCA Metro Vancouver has launched three new employment programs aimed at helping immigrant and refugee women who are looking for work to overcome their unique obstacles. You can check out each program below and visit for more info.

YWCA Elevate Skills

An employment program that assists immigrant women in navigating the Canadian labour market and securing meaningful careers

 Photo: Bigstock PhotoPhoto: Bigstock Photo

Elevate Skills is the ideal program for newcomer women who are either looking for their first job in Canada or who have been working in jobs that are not related to their experiences and backgrounds and want to transition back to their careers or to a different field. Participants attend three weeks of employment workshops that include Essential Skills Portfolio building and essential skills training if necessary. After the workshops, participants receive up to 13 weeks of job search support that includes group goal-setting meetings and one-to-one career advising. This is one of the only part-time employment programs in the Lower Mainland that accepts women who are employed or unemployed and who wish to stay in their careers or pursue different careers.

The classes are held at the WorkBC Centre in Port Coquitlam and begin November 25, 2019. For more information about this program, contact: 778 222 2352 |

YWCA Tech Connect

An employment program that supports immigrant women with experience in IT to secure rewarding careers in the tech industry

 Photo: Bigstock PhotoPhoto: Bigstock Photo

After completing five weeks of employment workshops, participants are paired with mentors and introduced to tech companies where they can do job shadowing. The YWCA partnered with the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), who provides the mentors, and the BC Tech Association (BC Tech) – a source of up-to-date labour market information and a pipeline to their member employers. The program will also benefit the BC tech sector which is growing rapidly and facing significant job shortages. The sector has targeted women and immigrants as potential talent pools and Tech Connect will provide them with much-needed access to those groups.

The workshops are held at the YWCA Cause We Care House in Vancouver and begin November 18, 2019 and January 13, 2020. For more information about this program, contact: 604 216 1670 |

YWCA Aspire

An employment program that assists newcomer refugee women in gaining valuable work experience in the non-profit sector.

 Photo: Bigstock PhotoPhoto: Bigstock Photo

Aspire offers a welcoming and supportive environment where participants can feel safe and inspired to be at their best. After completing six weeks of employment and job search workshops, participants are placed with local non-profit organizations for a 12-week paid internship program so they can obtain hands-on Canadian work experience. The workplace conversation circles provide great networking opportunities for the participants to meet and share their experiences with one another.

The workshops are held at the YWCA Program Centre in Downtown Vancouver and begin January 13, 2020. For more information about this program, contact: 604 323 4233 |

If you’re looking to learn how to navigate Canadian workplace culture or minimize the challenges of employment, consider signing up for one of the three programs today!

These new programs are funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Financial assistance for transit and child care support is available for eligible participants.

To learn more, visit

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