A report drawing on the needs of 42 employers in Surrey and Abbotsford and skills and occupational profiles of 144 refugees living in these cities highlights the challenges and barriers refugees face in connecting with prospective employers here.
Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said the report “aims to link the skill sets of refugees to employer needs” and that “the findings of the project will harness the development of critical supports needed to ensure the successful employability and entrepreneurship of this talent pool.”
Some 5,820 refugees have settled in B.C. as a result of Syria’s civil war, mostly in Surrey and Abbotsford.
Research was conducted between November 2016 and October 2017 by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC, Surrey Board of Trade, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, Abbotsford Community Service and DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society.
The report, Mapping Refugee Skills and Employer Needs in Surrey and Abbotsford, reveals that in Surrey construction and manufacturing, followed by retail trade, are the employment sectors most refugees are interested in, while in Abbotsford the highest interest lies in retail trade, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.
The provincial government, responding to the federal government’s Syrian refugee initiative, has provided $2 million to help refugees find employment through the Canada-B.C. Job Fund.