B.C. invests $5.5 million to teach immigrants English

Pilot project aiming to help immigrants secure jobs
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 10/21/2011

For the first time in British Columbia, immigrants will receive advanced workplace-specific, settlement-focused language training to help them find and keep jobs and settle into their communities.

“Language training is a vital service for B.C. immigrants who want to play an active part in their local communities and workforce,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell. “Better English language skills will ensure that our newcomers are able to continue making valuable contributions to the B.C. communities they now call home.”

The pilot project starting November 2011 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 delivers on the commitment made in Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan to support newcomers and enable them to fill some of the 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 six and seven, will be introduced this fall in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Southern Vancouver Island.

The ELSA program is offered through WelcomeBC the province’s umbrella of services for immigrant settlement and integration services.

“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,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney.

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