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RESPECT Dialogue – Immigrant Mentoring Programs in BC

Submitted by on June 20, 2011 – 7:38 amNo Comment | 1,637 views

Why Dialogue?

An increased awareness of the difficulties that new immigrants face in socio-economic integration urged the founding members of RESPECT to investigate these issues and form a team of individuals dedicated to uplifting the current conditions of Vancouver’s immigrants.

On June 4, 2011, RESPECT hosted a roundtable discussion between existing mentorship service providers to catalyze fruitful dialogues to sustain and develop mentorship programs and its stakeholders.

Four representatives of mentorship programs, some former and current participants of mentorship programs, and RESPECT members participated in the dialogue.

Major Findings

  • Many immigrants do not know about mentoring programs and/or about the benefits of having a mentor
  • Mentoring is not for everybody. Certain qualities are required both for mentees and mentors.
  • Mentors should be ‘well grounded in the system’, i.e. provide networking opportunities for mentees, have good knowledge of industry/profession trends. Otherwise mentoring is not valuable.
  • Mentees are as responsible and should take initiative and follow up.
  • Employers are not participating at the organizational level and it creates challenges for mentors.
  • Some of existing immigrant mentoring programs do not have employment as the required outcome

Recommendations

  • More research is needed on the existing mentoring models to determine their significance and effectiveness in immigrant labour market integration
  • Potential ways to engage broader pool of mentors are:
  • using retires,
  • engaging companies at the executive and organizational levels,
  • engaging professional organizations,
  • learning from other models (Europe, US, Australia)
  • We need more meetings like this one to share experiences and ideas

RESPECT is a greass-root, multicultural organization which aims to improve the well-being and socio-economic status of new Canadians in British Columbia. Our mandate is to ensure that all new Canadians in B.C. reach their full economic and social potential, and fully participate in the policitcal ife of Canada.

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