Newcomers to the southeast have an advantage when it comes to getting help finding the proper employment, housing, and social opportunities.

Between the provincially-funded Southeast Newcomer Services and the Southeast Advocates for Employment, and the federally-funded Settlement Workers in Schools, those who have relocated to Canada, or just to southeast Saskatchewan, can find the resources they need. From referrals to one-on-one support with employment, the local organization ensures not only that the newcomers find what they're looking for, but that local employers find those skilled, qualified workers as well.

Settlement Advisor with Southeast Newcomer Services in Weyburn, Laura Eddy, is one of those who help out with things like paperwork. She said it all begins with an interview process, to ascertain the employment status and schooling background. 

"More often than not, they have some sort of education, whether it is a degree, a certificate, or a trade," she shared. "If they're an engineer and they're working in the food service industry they're considered underemployed, because of their skills and their education. So at that point, I can make a referral to our employment consultant and then they go through an intake and he gets to know them and their skills."

From there, the employment consultant 'markets' the individual to the appropriate employers.

"When somebody is new, and especially from a different country, you don't even have a reference that's local, which, in a smaller community, is important," Eddy noted. "So going through three people in one office, spending lots of time, we do get to know them, so we're able to go out there and promote them a bit. So that's unique, I think, to to a smaller center and especially Weyburn."

Another perk for newcomers from other countries is the 'Conversation Circles', held at the Weyburn Public Library, which provide an opportunity to improve English-speaking skills as well as help with social mingling and networking.

"Usually we have a theme, and the kids can come, and they do a kids project and then the adults sit around and we'll talk about a certain topic, and that gets them meeting people in the community, whether it's other newcomers or people that are established in the community, and it gets them working on their English because once their English is a certain level, they're more employable." 

Eddy pointed out that Weyburn has a 'good reputation for being a welcoming community'. 

"I asked a lady what brought her to Weyburn, and she replied, 'I researched it, and it had everything I wanted. And the biggest thing is, it was safe'. So to me, that was kind of a big eye-opener."  

"These newcomers want to be part of our community and they will soak up any event, and support everything, and they just they want to be accepted and they want to be part of the community, and that includes working in the community, volunteering in the community and participating." 

Eddy said the provincial government is hosting job fairs in order to help match businesses and potential employees, particularly for those arriving in Canada from Ukraine.

"We're trying to entice them to Weyburn because we have the housing, we have a labour shortage here, so we have the jobs in many different fields and we have great community resources here," she said. "We have new schools. It's just especially what the Ukrainians are looking for, our security, and that is housing and employment."

She said they're trying to encourage employers from the Weyburn area to attend a job fair organized in conjunction with the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce, which they are hoping to schedule for mid-October. 

chamber breakfastLaura Eddy, at left, prior to presenting about Southeast Newcomer Services at this morning's Coffee with the Chamber, held at the Weyburn Legion.

Housing in Weyburn is the easy part to help with, noted Eddy, compared to the transferrable skills and encouraging employers to consider hiring newcomers.

"Many newcomers are skilled or educated, but to get their credentials recognized in Canada is a very lengthy process, and it's a very costly process. So many of them take jobs and try to work in a field that they enjoy. If it's something that they can do that's kind of in their field, they're more than happy to do that, because most of them are supporting themselves as well as family back home." 

The newcomers come ready to work, having all the necessary permits, with no additional paperwork being required from the employer.

Anyone new to the southeast can also access these services for free, even lifelong Canadians. This can include those with physical or mental barriers and those who have been out of the workforce for a number of years. 

Follow Southeast Newcomer Services on Facebook.