Article By Emma Cochrane
On Thursday March 25th, MAPLE 2.0 – Mentorship in Action, an original initiative of In-TAC, hosted another in a series of workshops on cultural competency for employer partners. Dr. Linda Manning, intercultural economist, facilitated the lively and evocative half-day session. Participating employers who participated from private and not-for-profit sectors reported better understanding of how to recognize unconscious bias and improve their interactions with people who come from different cultures.
MAPLE 2.0-Mentorship in Action recently won the top award for best workplace initiatives in the category of Workplace Integration at the 2014 International Qualifications Network (IQN) Awards. The cultural competency workshop series is only one of the many innovative activities that MAPLE 2.0 has developed to bring employers and internationally educated professionals (IEPs) together. The workshops are designed to support businesses in their performance initiatives for all employees. Dr. Manning uses active learning techniques, including case studies, to help participants “build on similarities and capitalize on differences” in the workplace.
Employers are looking for solutions in today’s multicultural labour market. One of the workshop participants, Marcus Duquette, Human Resources Manager for Combat Sports, noted that, “the current workforce is very diverse and it will be beneficial for businesses to understand this further.” The cultural competency training offered by MAPLE 2.0 helps employers to do just that!
Kyle Lin, CEO of iNano Matico Inc., went on to say that, “newcomers from outside Canada are a good resource for us.” Hiring IEP employees and leveraging their international networks and multilingual capabilities can broaden the scope of your business and open the door to new global markets. And just as training for IEPs is necessary to make sure they are “employment-ready,” employers recognize that they also need help to be “IEP-ready,” to insure long-term retention and productivity. MAPLE 2.0 provides partner employers with the kind of tools they need to ensure successful integration and top employee performance.
Erica Lychak, Relationship Officer at the Development Bank of Canada, said one of the ‘aha’ moments for her in the training was when she realized that, “something cannot be a ‘given’ if it is not articulated.” Norms and values differ in different cultures, whether by culture you mean different ethnicity, industry, age or gender. The MAPLE 2.0 cultural competency training provides employers like Lychak with support to capitalize on these differences and benefit from the unique expertise IEP employees bring.
Lin first learned of MAPLE 2.0 when he heard people “saying In-TAC can help us. It’s great for newcomers and great for our business.” In-TAC can deliver IEP talent with the technical and soft skills that business needs, because they offer comprehensive, sector-specific training and other employment supports for IEP clients, as well as training and other supports for employers.