In 2011, we joined hands with the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC), and service providers, ISSofBC, MOSAIC, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to pilot a mentorship program for new immigrant professionals.
This pilot project was one of the first of its kind for the public sector in Western Canada, and enabled us to provide a leadership role and showcasing a successful model to be followed by other municipalities.
The mentorship program is offered annually to City staff to share their knowledge, expertise, and professional networks with the newly arrived immigrant professionals.
The program remains an ongoing partnership with the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) and local Immigrant Settlement organizations (ISO’s).
The program provides an ongoing opportunity for us to demonstrate its leadership in diversity and inclusion, and helps to build a more culturally competent staff to better serve our diverse community.
It is strongly endorsed and supported by City Council and the Corporate Management Team. The Chief Human Resource Officer is the senior sponsor.
Through the mentorship program, we are able to send a powerful message to local immigrant communities that we value them and will provide learning opportunities for immigrants equal with their skill levels.
Who are the mentors and mentees?
Each year, our goal is to match a minimum of 25 City employees (mentors) to internationally trained professional immigrants (mentees). This goal is exceeded every year. The program is evaluated yearly for efficiency and effectiveness of processes and results.
The mentors are sourced from various civic departments. Staff mentors have included General Managers and senior leaders in the organization. Mentees are drawn from participating immigrant professional networks and ISO’s.
The Department of Human Resources provides overall coordination of the program, including meetings and on-going communication with IECBC.
IEC-BC coordinates mentor-mentee matches, as well as pre-program and post-program evaluation.
- Over the years, nearly 200 mentor matches have been provided to newly arrived immigrant professionals.
- City of Vancouver has been awarded by IEC-BC Employer Recognition Awards as an innovator and leader in the employment of immigrants in B.C.
- The program has been the recipient of the internal City Service Award Community Connections on two separate occasions.
- Mentorship programs are an important component in positioning the City as an employer of choice.
- Staff mentors have enhanced their coaching, cultural competency, and leadership skills working with internationally-trained colleagues.
- The program has provided the City with the opportunity to demonstrate its leadership and core values of livability and diversity, and to build more culturally competent and confident staff, better able to serve the diverse community.