The rapidly expanding city of Surrey is dedicating a week of services to help newcomers in the city find work.
From Oct. 21st to 27th, the city is hosting 35 different events around the city to help new residents find work during Surrey Newcomer Employment Week.
“Immigrant and refugee residents compose over 40% of Surrey’s population,” said Mayor Linda Hepner in a press release. “As Surrey continues to grow, we need to ensure that meaningful employment is provided for all of our residents.
“Newcomers need jobs to feed their families, but employment also gives new immigrants and refugees a sense of belonging and confidence that they are valued by their new country.”
Surrey has seen an influx of refugees come to the city since the Syrian refugee crisis from 2015. Over 1,000 refugees settled into the city between Nov. 4th, 2015 and Dec. 31st, 2016.
Some of the 35 workshops over the next week are refugee-specific. This includes Refugee Day on Monday, Oct. 23rd in Newton, and Syrian Newcomers in the Canadian Workplace Forum at city hall on Wednesday, Oct. 25th.
A full list of all 35 workshops can be found by clicking here.
The week of employment activities is a new initiative of the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership. They’ve partnered with 18 community and business organizations to host a number of different activities.
“Economic integration is not only about earning an income,” said Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Co-Chair of Surrey LIP. “Accessing meaningful employment is fundamental to a sense of belonging and Surrey NEW provides an opportunity for our community to support newcomers in building this confidence.”
While they spend this week preparing newcomers in Surrey to join the workforce, they share past success stories of newcomers to Canada on their website.
A story from Saied Forouzi details his experience as a newcomer to Canada in 1998. He came to British Columbia with degrees in engineering and libraries.
After working a number of ‘survival jobs’ for two years, Forouzi landed a job as a librarian in Nanaimo for three months. Since he lived on the mainland, he had to wake up at 5 a.m. to make it to the island before 9 a.m.
That experience landed him a job at the Surrey Public Library, where he has been for the last 18 years.