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Quick Chat: Tara Gibb

December 03,2015

Mentoring programs for skilled immigrants

Tara Gibb discusses mentoring programs for skilled immigrants

As Canada prepares to welcome some 25,000 refugees from Syria over the next several months, there will most definitely be a period of adjustment for the new immigrants. 

For the adults who come, their primary goal will be to get their families settled.  Then they’ll need to move on to the task of finding employment, and many will expect to find work in their chosen fields. 

This is particularly true for those who practice in professional areas.  The time invested to become a doctor, for example, is many years, and the doctor doesn’t anticipate he or she won’t be working in that field, especially if they’ve successfully completed their formal education. 

Many new immigrants, however, encounter unemployment or underemployment in their chosen professions after they settle. And often, they find they’ll have to take whatever jobs they can get.

Tara Gibb says finding work in their field of choice can be difficult, and often comes down to two factors.  The first is the methods used to assess language capability; the second is whether or not the newly arrived immigrant finds support through mentorship programs.

Gibb, who was a postdoctoral scholar in the Werklund School of Education last year and is now an instructor in Adult Education at the University of the Fraser Valley, recently held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellowship to study the latter. 
Gibb says mentorship programs not only provide benefits to the new immigrants, but they also afford positive experiences for those who offer their time to be supporters.