For the first time in B.C. immigrants will receive advanced workplace-specific, settlement-focused language training to help them find and keep jobs and settle into their communities.
The pilot project starting in November is supported by $5.5 million in new funding, and is part of the government’s investment in free English language classes under the English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) program.
The new project comes following a commitment made in Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan to support newcomers and enable them to fill some of the over one million jobs anticipated to open in B.C. over the next decade.
Around 19,000 students are expected to benefit from the complete suite of ELSA classes offered in more than 35 communities across the province in 2011. The workplace-specific curriculum, part of ELSA Levels 6 and 7, will be introduced this fall in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Southern Vancouver Island.
The ELSA program is offered through WelcomeBC — www.welcomebc.ca — the province’s umbrella of services for immigrant settlement and integration services. An annual budget of $40 million is provided through federal and provincial funding.
“The federal government continues to work in partnership with the Province of British Columbia to help newcomers transition and become productive members of Canadian society,” said Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism.
“Language is an important component of success here in Canada; the sooner newcomers improve their language skills, the sooner they will integrate into the job market and produce value in our economy.”
• For more information on ELSA programs, eligibility and locations, visit http://www.welcomebc.ca/wbc/immigration/settle/learn/elsa.page.
• For information about other WelcomeBC programs, visit: www.welcomebc.ca.
• For information on ‘Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan’, visit http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/CSH_BCJobsPlan_web.pdf.