Reach for Success

Serge Kaptegaine | Posted with permission from CBC (Manitoba Votes 2011)

It will take great effort from multiple organizations to ensure successful outcomes for refugee employment in Manitoba.

One of my best quotes comes from Alfred Sauvy, who said: “There is no human problem that cannot be solved, since the solution is within us.”

Some time it’s easy to talk about issues, problems and asking others — politicians — to try to fix it. This week I would like to share some ideas that I believe can also empower not only refugees, but also newcomer’s employment in Manitoba.

Before writing about what I am proposing, I would like to recognize the wonderful effort made so far by a number of non-profit organizations dealing with the employment of newcomers. By no means should I assume that any one person or organization is capable of addressing and fixing the economic challenges faced by refugees.

I recognize the positive contributions of many Manitoba organizations and rather than duplicating those efforts I would like to offer another perspective with its own experience and expertise to refugee employment. It is my hope to work alongside government agencies and other NGOs to develop new employment opportunities and to assist with the challenges that refugees face integrating into our system.

We have all learned that it takes a village to raise a child. Similarly it takes great effort from multiple organizations to ensure successful outcomes for refugees. Partnerships and strategic alliances between NGOs, employment agencies, and various support groups are necessary for the growth and success of refugee employment in Manitoba. The NGOs should help refugees by providing expertise, resources, services, knowledge and exposure to refugees’ skills coming into Manitoba.

I propose first of all to promote partnership between our NGOs and private sectors and then to divide our Manitoba NGOs into three categories:

The first category should be composed of settlement organizations which are very important and helpful to identify refugees with skills, and connect them with employment agencies.

The second category should consist of entrepreneurs, chief executive officers of Manitoba employers and employer organizations. This category may play an important role into mentorship of refugees and by making a genuine contribution to developing the Manitoba workforce together with newcomer refugees, helping refugees to validate and showcase their knowledge and skills.

The third category consists of available community resources facilitating newcomers integration through training. To ease the coordination between the three categories, we should come up with a nine-month window from the time the refugees arrived in Manitoba, by preparing, and empowering his / her skills in a pragmatic way for employment.

Through this approach, I see that we as a community will be able to work together and guide refugees to ensure proper benefit is taken of available social and educational programs offered by government and NGOs in Manitoba. We will be able to assess individual refugee aptitudes, skills and career aspirations to ensure the delivery of the appropriate training, mentorship, and support, and above all we will be able to partner with government, and private sectors to reduce poverty of refugees newcomers in Manitoba.

Serge Kaptegaine

Serge Kaptegaine was proud to become a New Canadian in 2010 and wants to know what the province will do for immigrants like himself.


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