PROMISING PRACTICE DECEMBER 2020

PROMISING PRACTICE
 

Business Edge Program – Intercultural Skills Lab


QUICK FACTS

AUDIENCE   Settlement, social, and health service providers

POPULATION OF INTEREST   Immigrant and refugee populations

LOCATION   Toronto, ON

THE NEED   The majority of participants have landed in Canada less than three years before joining the program (the requirement is less than eight years) and are still finding their way here; in some cases, struggling so much that they may even be considering returning home.

WHAT'S PROMISING   Not only are internationally trained participants able to learn skills for advancing their careers, but are given the opportunity to build friendships, increase their sense of having a place in their new home, and express feelings of being supported, knowing that people care about their welfare and that they are accepted.

KEY TAKEAWAY   While bridging programs are important in helping newcomers find jobs, resources are also needed to help them retain those jobs, succeed, and thrive in their new workplaces and their new home.


Business Edge Program

Business Edge is a career advancement program for underemployed, internationally educated professionals living in the province of Ontario to explore and navigate cultural values, interaction styles and unwritten rules of the workplace. This transformative program positions individuals to leverage their international experience and to achieve their full potential in Canada. It also equips individuals with the techniques and strategies to make the most of the skills, experience and education that they bring to Canada. This program combines classroom sessions, one-to-one coaching, and online simulations in order to provide the skills and knowledge to achieve professional goals. In 2019, a digital version of the program was created and has been successfully implemented throughout the pandemic so that there was never a break in service, delay or cancellation.

Business Edge is part of University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management’s Intercultural Skills Lab – a platform where employees can develop the self-awareness, adaptability and communication skills and competencies demanded by an increasingly globalized workforce.

The program includes sessions and coaching on emotional intelligence, mindfulness practices, difficult conversations, understanding and communicating your value and much more. Applicants often enter the program expressing feelings of isolation, not fitting in, lack of community, loss of confidence and in some cases anxiety and depression are evident. Over the six months that participants are together in the program they build friendships, increase their sense of having a place in their new home, and express feelings of being supported, knowing that people care about their welfare and that they are accepted- that they belong. 

In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must have completed all of their post secondary education outside of Canada and most of their work experience.  The majority of participants have landed in Canada less than three years before joining the program (the requirement is less than eight years) and are still finding their way here; in some cases, struggling so much that they may even be considering returning home.  Happily, it’s very rare that they end up leaving Canada once they join the program.  There are many excellent bridging programs to help newcomers find jobs but fewer resources to help them retain those jobs, succeed, and thrive in their new workplaces and their new home.  The culture shock can be painful and support is needing along the way.  Business Edge, funded by the Government of Ontario, is entirely about that part- staying, connecting, growing, and thriving. Learn more about Business Edge by watching this video or reach out to program staff for more information.  To attend a virtual information session on January 14, 2021 you can register here.

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