Flexible Workbc Services Helps Immigrants And Refugees Find Employment

WorkBC Centres and employers find creative ways to bridge the language divide.

Communication is often a barrier for immigrants and refugees. WorkBC Centres take additional steps to connect with them and connect them to employers.

Renee Renee works at the Comox Valley WorkBC Centre and helps people find jobs. She recalls when an employer took a different approach to a job interview because of a language barrier. “We had an individual who had the skills the employer was looking for. But they couldn’t speak to each other. Instead of a traditional style interview, the employer asked them to demonstrate their skills and they found their own way to communicate during the demonstration. The employer was so impressed by their skills that they were hired on the spot.”

Some WorkBC Centre staff speak multiple languages, hire translators, or use translation apps. In some cases, WorkBC Centres may offer extra support like they did for Aliakbar, a transport driver with 20 years of experience. There are about 500 available jobs for transport drivers in B.C. and Aliakbar needed help gaining employment in the sector.

However, Aliakbar struggled because of a language barrier and hearing loss which impacted his ability to learn a new language and search for jobs. His WorkBC Centre helped him access WorkBC Assistive Technology Services which paid for hearing aids and a translator to attend audiology appointments with Aliakbar.

“Hearing aids have changed quality of my life,” Aliakbar says. “This is the best thing that has happened to me. I used to avoid in-person classes, workshops, meetings, events, and having eye contact with others as I was embarrassed when I could not hear them, and they expected my response. My hearing aids have helped me overcome my main barrier to employment.”

Aliakbar says he was treated with respect and empathy. “I was not embarrassed to talk about my issues. You were so patient with me and spent so much time to interpret everything to me so can I understand everything.” Thanks to WorkBC Aliakbar is on his way to employment.