Mentorship can help newcomers achieve career success
Published January 3, 2022.
Bruce Randall, founding Executive Director of the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC), says great mentors recognize newcomer skills and experience and are often the first to support them on their road to professional success
In more than a decade of leading CRIEC (Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council), Bruce Randall has seen countless examples of the power mentorship has to transform the lives of immigrants and refugees.
“We’re often one of the first organizations newcomers connect with when they arrive in Canada,” says Randall. “Our clients often tell us, ‘You were the first people that reminded me what I could become ; a lawyer, a doctor. You picked me up when I was having a bad day and reminded me that I could push through.”
Mentorship as a path to empowerment
CRIEC, a Windmill partner, uses mentorship as a tool to empower and support newcomers on their journey to establish themselves in their new country. The economic benefits of mentorship on newcomers are pretty clear, with research pointing to growth in income, employment, and career advancement goals.
Randall argues mentorship can offer something more valuable than income growth or any particular economic measure of success. “Great mentorship is about providing the opportunity for newcomers to be the best they can be,” he says. “We think about how to help our mentees holistically. Our mentors listen deeply. They think carefully about how their mentees are feeling. For us, it’s not a numbers game.”
CRIEC’s model also emphasizes sharing personal and professional experiences between mentors and mentees, rather than simply focusing on getting clients a job.
“We believe the idea of mentoring is two people coming together, each with their strengths, each bringing their gifts,” says Randall. “We recognize a whole lot is going on in a newcomer’s life, a transitional job or jobs. Our mentors might help them understand licensure, and show them the doors that can be opened. Then, we get to celebrate their career achievements and milestones alongside them.”
“Mentee alumni thank CRIEC for building up their confidence, for recognizing their skills and valuing those skills. Mentors know when to listen, when to buy someone a cup of tea. Great mentoring is about love and seeing what people can ultimately grow to become.”
Click here to learn about the Windmill Microlending Mentorship Program for skilled newcomers and refugees.