It was a day of celebration for the students who participated in the Skills Launch program.
The program was a joint effort by the Multicultural Association of Fredericton and the New Brunswick Multicultural Council Inc. to help newcomers gain English as a second language and workplace essential skills.
On Wednesday, 42 participants graduated at a ceremony in the Maritime Forestry Complex in Fredericton.
The program is 10 months long with a blend of experiential learning. Students were paid during the program.
Bonnie Doughty, the director of employment at the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, said the program has been critical in helping newcomers break down barriers both in their personal lives and their professional ones.
“That’s what the Skills Launch program does,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “It puts together all these different pieces of the puzzle that allow someone to play in a fair playing ground, where they can excel, and of course go on to higher education or going into employment directly.”
She said a big part is the participating employers who take a leap of faith with the program.
“Others have done it and keep coming back for more and more,” she said.
Doughty said she heard from one former graduate who has been with the same company for 23 years, speaking to the success of this program.
Larysa Motspan came to New Brunswick from Ukraine in 2020.
Now, after graduating from the program, she helps her fellow Ukrainians settle as they flee from war. She’s a settlement co-ordinator with MCAF.
“It’s a good opportunity for me, for all of us, and I think we’re all happy,” she said of her graduation on Wednesday.
Mohammed Mohagheghian is grateful for how the program helped him improve his English. He is now working as an accountant.
“I’m so very happy,” he said. “It’s a very good time for me because this program was very useful for me.”
Roshin Altummo was also excited to graduate on Monday. She came to New Brunswick from Syria with her family, including two young children. Her plans include going to the New Brunswick Community College to get training as an early childhood educator.
“It’s wonderful because it’s the first step for us to go to work and I’m very happy,” she said.
The participants who graduated Wednesday are from 11 countries including Burundi, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Iran, Mexico, Serbia, Syria and Ukraine.
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