Employer improves teamwork through employability training

The Association for New Canadians (ANC) is a non-profit, community-based organization delivering settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador. For 40 years, the Association has delivered programs and services that support all aspects of immigrant integration, ranging from settlement information and orientation to language learning, skills development and employment.

Tilak Chawan is the Child and Youth Programs Coordinator, and his role is to help newcomers (primarily government-assisted refugees) settle into the public school system. He has been working for ANC for over eight years and is a refugee himself, hailing from Bhutan.

Chawan recently heard about the Activate Learning program through another community partner and was keen to take part in the employability and life skills workshops. For his team of seven, he believed it was important that they receive training on important soft skills such as accountability, motivation and teamwork so that they could better work together to support the community that they serve.

“I found these workshops to be really helpful in improving the skills of our diverse team,” says Chawan. “We have employees that come from all around the world, myself included, and sometimes certain approaches might not relate to the approaches that others might take. These workshops helped us to understand how to better work together in the best interest of our clients.”

Chawan and his team ran the three workshops in the summer to prepare themselves for the upcoming school year. With his team working fully within the school system supporting refugees and communicating with staff about the various challenges that their students may face, Chawan felt these workshops would be a great way to brush up on soft skills to help them work better with vulnerable people.

He spoke to an example of how his team might have to navigate a difficult situation taking place between students and school staff.

“For many of the students that we support, survival and starvation is real, and here they might arrive at a school where there are rules around food allergies. So when we tell them that they can’t eat things like peanuts or bananas it can be very difficult for them. We aim to teach school staff and teachers about this kind of trauma and how to work better with the children.”

Activate Learning is a literacy program focused on supporting and empowering the unique population of Newfoundland and Labrador. The program aims to improve the number of training opportunities for adult learners, employees and workplaces on the topics of employability and life skills, health literacy and financial literacy.

Chawan was so pleased with the workshops that he decided to sign up to run the financial literacy workshops for his team as well. With several summer students working for the organization, he felt that these Money Matters workshops would be beneficial to the team who are trying to make money for school and budget accordingly on a student budget.

To learn more about Activate Learning, visit abcactivatelearning.ca.