Investing in talent from abroad pays off

By Ceiledh Monk, Business Voice Magazine, September 2017.  

Immigrants from across the globe bring skills and work ethic to Nova Scotian businesses

As most of you may know, Nova Scotia welcomed more than 2,500 Syrian refugees in 2016. By accepting these refugees, our province took on the responsibility of creating a foundation for each of these families to grow — the two pillars for this foundation are education and employment.

It is the privilege of each citizen to become involved in helping refugees. As Nova Scotians who have always lived and worked in a politically stable and prosperous country, it can be extremely difficult to empathize and imagine what it would be like to live in a war torn country, and losing family and friends, like these people fleeing to our homes for security and hope. Arriving in a country without necessary language skills, or knowledge of customs and traditions are the first obstacles on their venture to establishing new lives and embracing their new home.

Monk Renovations took the initiative to become involved in the changes to make a positive impact on the life of one immigrant and, hopefully, set an example for other companies. Monk hired Ahmad Aljwabreh as a journeyman painter and drywaller, in February.

Aljwabreh, his mother, younger sister and brother, came to Canada with hope for a new beginning. Aljwabreh previously worked in Syria and Jordan, and is now committed to expanding his knowledge and improving his skills with Monk Renovations.

There are many other families just like Aljwabreh’s and many skilled trades people available. Dan Monk, and the rest of the crew at Monk Renovations, encourages all their colleagues at the Canadian Home Builders Association in Nova Scotia, and companies in all other industries to explore this opportunity.

Spread the word and take the initiative to contact the Immigrant Service Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), and welcome hard working men and women into the Canadian workforce.

Dan Monk, Owner of Monk Renovations, learned about this opportunity from a former client who sponsored a Syrian refugee family. Through the client’s connection with ISANS she discovered Aljwabreh was job seeking as a painter in the Halifax Area. She contacted Monk to ask about trade qualifications on behalf of Aljwabreh.

Inspired by the One Nova Scotia Report, Monk was keen to engage in growing their company with a new immigrant employee. The process moved very quickly once Monk began working with ISANS in early February, and Aljwabreh started working within weeks. ISANS is a progressive organization, which cares for each immigrant in Nova Scotia. They have an efficient and effective process in place to help newcomers establish every aspect of their new life from attaining a driver’s license and finding a job to continuing education and training.

From Monk’s experience as an employer, he found that ISANS was easy to work with, communicated well, arranged meetings and provided translators to assist when necessary. Along with ISANS’ administrative efficiencies, they have a support system in place for both employers and immigrants with wage assistance, language training, safety training, and job related equipment. This was a significant help in the initial stages of hiring a new immigrant.

All in all, the experience of hiring Aljwabreh was excellent, and Monk highly recommends it to others.

Ceiledh Monk is the Social Media and Marketing Coordinator at Monk Renovations. This fall, she will begin her Bachelor of International Business at Carleton University.