Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC) Immigrant Internship Pilot Program (IIPP) was designed to:
- create opportunities for HRSDC to recruit and mentor recently immigrated Foreign Trained Professionals (FTPs) new to the Canadian labour market;
- accelerate FTPs’ integration into the Canadian labour market by providing them with valuable work experience in their related fields of study/expertise as well as a Canadian reference; and
- promote diversity and ensure that HRSDC leads the federal government by example in assisting immigrants to integrate into the labour market.
From the outset HRSDC collaborated with local agencies serving immigrant, LASI World Skills and Service Intégration Travail Outaouais (SITO). These agencies helped HRSDC to advertise the internship opportunity and pre-select qualified candidates on behalf of the department.
Several special initiatives that were introduced to support the IIPP were crucial to the success of the program:
- Managers and interns were given training on some of the cross-cultural issues that commonly appear in the workplace. As a result of this training they were better able to anticipate and respond to these issues as they occurred.
- A mentorship program was established. Each intern was assigned a mentor, an existing HRSDC employee who helped the intern with understanding the Canadian workplace, helped with career path planning, provided advice on how to navigate through the Canadian employment scene, and also provided a local reference.
- Interns were given information about applying for Public Service jobs open to the public
- Interns were provided with learning and networking opportunities, such as tours of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Parliament, to increase their understanding of Canadian institutions and citizenship values.
“This pilot has created an opportunity for HRSDC to recruit and mentor Foreign Trained Professionals, not only increasing the diversity of our workplace, but providing them with a quality work experience that will help them to better integrate into the workforce.” said Janice Charette, Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
Participating HRSDC managers praise the program and look forward to hiring interns again. HRSDC’s work on this project has also demonstrated that successfully integrating immigrant employees into the workplace is a responsibility of the employer as well as the immigrant.
Read about the experience of Ghadeer Abou-Shakra , an immigrant intern who participated in the program