Three years have passed since Khadi joined WorkBC Specialized Services at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House. Today she works full-time as a sous chef at a popular restaurant in Vancouver.

Khadi is an immigrant who came to WorkBC Specialized Services at the House through her social worker from second-stage housing—her file was transferred from a different service provider. She requested help to enter the Canadian labour force to rebuild and settle her life after leaving an abusive relationship. Khadi’s employment background from outside Canada was in the accounting and beauty spa industries. She requested Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House’s case management services to learn effective job search techniques and to increase her self-confidence to find an entry-level job as soon as possible.

The social integration services provided through the neighbourhood houses network has a great impact on how well immigrants integrate socially in their workplaces and communities, especially when there are many other challenges experienced by the participant such as leaving an abusive relationship.

Here is an outline of the challenges and support provided to Khadi to help her accomplish her goals:

Challenges 

Support

  • Low ESL
  • Referred to the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House’s English Conversation Club and to Educacentre English language training
  • Low computer skills
  • Referred to the House’s computer tutoring sessions and given tutorials on how to practice typing and safe emailing
  • Lack of Canadian work experience and employment gap
  • Offered the opportunity to volunteer at the House’s Seniors Cooking Program
  • Lack of a professional network
  • Connected with other House programs to expand her network
  • Lack of job search skills
  • Given one-on-one workshops on: recognizing, understanding and overcoming the impacts of abuse; resume and cover letter development; basic computer skills and emailing; cultural awareness and soft skills.
  • Lack of support system
  • Referred to the House’s Tax Clinic and Cooking Club
  • Lack of transportation support
  • Provided with bus tickets to attend appointments
  • Temporary housing situation
  • Referred to housing resources

Khadi actively participated in ongoing coaching sessions and in one-on-one workshops. She was also referred to valuable community resources. Throughout this process, the House provided the tools and the encouragement for her to remain focused and upbeat during her job search period.

Khadi’s successes include integrating into the Canadian workplace and bringing valuable contributions to the Mount Pleasant community. Finding employment helped her develop the confidence and financial stability to live independently as a survivor of violence. Her first languages are Arabic and French, and she continues to learn new skills at work, practicing and improving her oral English language skills and expanding her community connections.

Khadi says: “I like WorkBC Employment ProgramSpecialized Services at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House because they have helped me to learn how to find a full-time job, and how to communicate with employers and co-workers.

 

Now I feel comfortable attending interviews thanks to the skills I learned while attending the program. My English language skills have improved since I didn’t speak English when I first started.

 

It was very difficult for me to communicate with others when I started the program. I have learned how to job search on the internet and how to email my resume. Margarita has been really friendly, understanding and compassionate. She took time to listen to me and to coach me.”