The Destination Employment Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting at last week’s Tourism Labour Market Forum, at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre. Over twenty individuals from hotels, destination marketing organizations, serving agencies, and government shared their expertise and experience on connecting newcomers to Canada with employers.
Announced in 2018, the three-year Destination Employment program is helping newcomers gain meaningful employment in Canadian hotels, giving them the experience they need to build a successful future in Canada. Hoteliers, faced with a growing labour shortage, have the opportunity to fill existing vacancies and receive support and resources to integrate newcomers into their workplaces. The pilot program launched in five regions across Canada, with a goal of expanding to other areas and other industries.
For many committee members, this was their first in-person meeting with each other as well as Tourism HR Canada staff and delivery partners. The group discussed the delivery of the project, offering feedback on the initial programming already underway.
As each region has its own labour market profile and challenges, Destination Employment can be tailored to best accommodate area needs. Delivery partners gave an overview of their regional specifics, along with their successes and challenges to date. Among the topics addressed:
- Training innovations and needs
- Opportunities and messaging
- Partnership building and industry engagement
- Employer, mentor, and newcomer participation processes
The engaged group provided important feedback on partners’ experiences and lessons learned. This will help in designing and implementing appropriate solutions as the project enters its second year and looks for opportunities to expand. Of note: to offer engaging messaging on the wide variety of employment opportunities in hotels for a variety of participants, from first-time job seekers to experienced workers. Also key: to provide clear, succinct employer resources to encourage participation and to help all levels of staff connect with program and recognize the many benefits.
With training a core component of Destination Employment, the group discussed planned updates to Emerit’s Workplace Essentials and Canadian Workplace Essentials programs, as well as other training resources, expectations, and delivery methods. Participants focused on flexibility, including online delivery, language level, and specific employer/brand needs. Training developers will incorporate this feedback to ensure the most effective programming possible.
Committee members offered positive feedback on their experience, noting everyone was able to voice ideas, recommendations, and concerns. The last hour offered the opportunity to network and follow up on individual questions.