GBC to launch the ReNEW career readiness program for newcomers thanks to a $500,000 donation from Scotiabank’s ScotiaRISE Social Impact Initiative

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Thanks to a generous donation from ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank’s $500 million commitment and social impact strategy to remove barriers to career advancement and employment, George Brown College (GBC) will launch new career development learning opportunities and supports to set newcomers up for success in the Canadian workforce. 

The ScotiaRISE $500,000 donation to the college was announced on Friday, June 7. The majority of the gift will fund the two-year ReNEW career readiness program for internationally trained professionals studying at the School of English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies

“We are pleased to provide ScotiaRISE funding for the ReNEW career readiness program at George Brown College and the new bursary program for women students from Afghanistan,” said Christopher Sandilands, Toronto Centre District Vice-President at Scotiabank. “ScotiaRISE is proud to support education and employment opportunities for newcomers to Canada as they work to establish success and economic resilience in their new lives. We wish these students best of luck in their new endeavors.”  

Helping internationally trained professionals succeed in the Canadian workforce 

The goal of the ReNEW program is to help 160 newcomers overcome common navigation, financial literacy, career mobility, and professional networking barriers so they can fully and meaningfully participate in the Canadian workforce and improve their economic resiliency.  

“Internationally trained professionals are a source of great talent that benefits the Canadian labour market, our communities and society.  We are very proud of the work we are doing at GBC to empower and support newcomers to Canada through the ReNEW program,” said Dr. Eileen de Courcy, George Brown College’s Vice-President, Academic. “We want to acknowledge and recognize ScotiaRISE for the generous gift and for the positive impact it will have on the lives of the participants.”  

GBC expects to launch the ReNEW program in September 2024.  

Apply for the ReNEW program

Developing career readiness skills 

Students who complete the ReNEW program will have gained the ability to identify key trends in the Canadian labour market, employ job search strategies to find relevant employment opportunities, and demonstrate intercultural skills required in Canada’s diverse labour force. 

“As a Career Development Practitioner student and as a newcomer, I believe that newcomer students need to understand the process of entering the Canadian labour market, especially with the existence of barriers such as language and Canadian experience,” said Kamalamal Alkalaldeh. “This program will help newcomer students articulate their transferable skills, set their career goals, explore the Canadian labour market, gain job search skills, and be ready for their Canadian careers.” Alkalaldeh is a postgraduate student in the Career Development Practitioner program and Pathways Student Communications Assistant with the School of ESL & Immigrant Education. 

The program benefits newcomers and supports employers by preparing career-ready candidates who can fill vacancies in sectors experiencing critical worker shortages. 

“Today's students have many things on their plate when they arrive in Canada, and they need support to be successful when they finish their ESL studies,” said Luis Fernando Moreno Rojas, a second-year student in the Game Art program and a GBC Student Success Coach. “A professional development option within the School of ESL can help migrants reduce the gap in knowledge and obtain effective tools to achieve their strategic objectives on their Canadian career path.” 

Representatives from Scotiabank and George Brown College holding a ceremonial cheque

Did you know? 

  • The population of highly educated immigrants in Canada continues to climb, yet a widespread and significant skills-job mismatch is negatively impacting newcomers’ economic success. 1
  • In Ontario, immigrants earn significantly below the median income, with median incomes for spouses and dependents of immigrants and refugees lagging even further behind. 2
  • Between 2011 and 2016, only principal applicants in the economic class (20.8 per cent of all immigrants in Ontario) earned above median wage, while the majority (79.2 per cent) of the immigrants arriving in Ontario (including refugees, spouses and dependents) had earnings significantly below the provincial median.3
  • New immigrants were also among the hardest hit by COVID-related jobs losses with employment loss of 12 per cent among recent immigrants compared to only 4 per cent for the Canadian born population.4

1 Young, Rebekah (2023). Scotiabank’s ScotiaRISE Summit, May 12, 2023. 

2 Government of Ontario (2021). Ontario Bridge Training Program Guidelines.  

3 Government of Ontario (2021). Ontario Bridge Training Program Guidelines.  

4 Government of Ontario (2021). Ontario Bridge Training Program Guidelines.  

5 Canadian Chamber of Commerce (2023). Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report. 

Supporting Afghan women to study at GBC

Scotiabank’s ScotiaRISE gift will also provide funding for bursaries of up to $5,000 each for up to 24 Afghan women studying in Canada over two years. This support covers either a one-year certificate or $5,000 for each year of a two-year diploma program, depending on the student’s choice. Passage Philanthropy is working with George Brown College to support the students with their experience and learning in Canada. 

About ScotiaRISE 

ScotiaRISE is Scotiabank's ten-year, $500 million commitment and social impact strategy helping people in three focus areas: improving high school and post-secondary participation, removing career barriers, and supporting newcomer economic inclusion. ScotiaRISE also invests in programs that address the reclamation of Indigenous language and culture as well as urgent and basic needs, such as improving access to basic supports like food and water, shelter and medical care. Since program inception in 2021, ScotiaRISE has invested $102 million in funding globally for 200 organizations, helping individuals from disadvantaged groups at 1.6 million critical moments in time.