PRINCE GEORGE – The B.C. government is providing $109,355 for English language training in Prince George to support newcomers who are looking for work.

The B.C. government is teaming with the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George (IMSS) to provide the training, which is intended to help immigrants overcome language barriers when seeking employment. Gaining these additional skills will increase their employability and allow them more opportunity to move to other jobs or access additional skills training in the future.

“IMSS is offering Workplace Essential Skills Language Training under this funding aimed at newcomers with professional-level skills who are unemployed or underemployed,” IMSS executive director Baljit Sethi said. “This opportunity will address language building and cultural understanding that is essential in building a successful career or work life in our community. All permanent residents, including recent immigrants and refugees, are eligible to apply if they meet the course-specific eligibility criteria.”

Training will prepare participants for employment in a high-demand industry, sector or occupation that is currently experiencing, or is expected to experience, a labour or skills shortage over the next 12 months.

“Our government’s focus is on continuing to grow our diverse and strong economy,” Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said. “This program will empower new immigrants, support their settlement into the community, and provide more prospects for rewarding, family-supporting jobs.”

“Language can be a barrier to employment and we need to maximize the skills of immigrants who are already in our province,” Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said. “English language training is essential to opening doors to better employment opportunities and making their new life in Canada successful.”

Overall funding of $2.6 million is being given province-wide to help approximately 1,200 newcomers to B.C. get the skills they need for the job market. Funding for Project Based Language Training is provided by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training through a partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.