Fu­ture Lead­ers

Part I

Asian Journal - - Colors of Life -

The Fu­ture Lead­ers Pro­gram is a 16week pro­gram de­signed to ad­dress the mul­ti­ple bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment faced by vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity youth ages 15-30. The pro­gram pro­vides a com­bi­na­tion of Life Skills and Em­ploy­ment Skills train­ing for 6 weeks and a Work Place­ment com­po­nent for 10 weeks in the Re­tail, Food and Ser­vice sec­tors. The youth par­tic­i­pants also re­ceive wages while at­tend­ing class as well as op­por­tu­nity for cer­tifi­cate train­ing, such as Food Safe, First Aid, and Cashier & Cus­tomer Train­ing. The ob­jec­tive of the Fu­ture Lead­ers Pro­gram is to in­spire and em­power par­tic­i­pants by pro­vid­ing a spe­cial­ized cur­ricu­lum that will bridge the in­ter­cul­tural knowl­edge of Canadian work place ex­pec­ta­tions and en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills. Here is a story about three im­mi­grant youth, An­war, Nadeen and Eh who par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram in 20142015. Eh Hsar Eh Hsar is 24 years old. She was born in the Thai­land and im­mi­grated to Canada in March 2003 as a gov­ern­ment as­sisted refugee. Tran­si­tion in Canada was a tough process as the English lan­guage is a to­tally dif­fer­ent from her na­tive tongue of Karen. Eh did not have an op­por­tu­nity to com­plete high school and so com­plet­ing that was a big pri­or­ity for her. She wants to be an Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tor (ECE) and run a day care for the kids from her com­mu­nity. But to achieve this goal, Eh knows she needs to im­prove her English skills as well as have enough fi­nan­cial re­sources to pay for the ECE pro­gram.

She was re­ferred to the Fu­ture Lead­ers pro­gram by her set­tle­ment coun­sel­lor. Eh was very fo­cussed in class but she was shy and not en­tirely con­fi­dent with her spo­ken English. Af­ter qui­etly lis­ten­ing to pro­gram ac­tiv­i­ties for build­ing self-es­teem and con­fi­dence, and Cross­Cul­tural and In­ter­per­sonal Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Eh slowly came out of her shell.

At the end of the 6-week train­ing on life & em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills, Eh was ready for the work place­ment chal­lenge. “The mock in­ter­view prac­tices re­ally helped a lot”, said Eh with a smile. She was hired by Tim Hor­tons at Fleet­wood.

She was ini­tially scared to work in a very fast-paced and “very English” en­vi­ron­ment. Once she started work­ing, she was very de­lighted and loved the sup­port and the ex­pe­ri­ence. In her touch back ses­sion with the Fu­ture Lead­ers’ staff af­ter two weeks of work, Eh said “I love to work here and want to al­ways work full time”. Now that she has com­pleted her 10 weeks of work ex­pe­ri­ence, she has been of­fi­cially hired at Tim Hor­tons and the em­ployer is very happy to find such a ded­i­cated em­ployee.

“I will now re­al­ize my dream and fin­ish school and go for fur­ther stud­ies with good English too”, said Eh.

Eh Hsar

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