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DiversityWorkplace

Understanding the settlement needs of Ukrainian refugees

The influx of Ukrainian nationals arriving to Manitoba under the Ukrainian initiative has grown considerably over the past few months. On May 23rd, Winnipeg welcomed one chartered plane carrying approximately 300 passengers ­– families looking to find a more stable but temporary residence.

The majority of the newly arrived Ukrainians are highly educated with low to intermediate levels of English proficiency. As part of their settlement needs, they are looking for employment. Manitoba Start has been central in registering them for services, including employment coaching, as one of the agencies involved in the settlement plan for the Ukrainians. A reception centre has been set up at the hotel where the Ukrainian refugees are temporarily staying, so they have access to a one-stop-shop to apply for their health card, social insurance number and access housing support.

If we look at the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we understand that there are certain necessities that must be taken care of before much bigger challenges are taken on. In this sense, we must ensure that the settlement needs of Ukrainian refugees are taken care of before starting their job search.

According to the intake data, the top five immediate settlement needs, as specified by Ukrainians, are as follows:

  1. Attending language training
  2. Employment supports
  3. Government benefits
  4. Driver’s licence
  5. Preferred accommodation

While highly educated ­– 93% have at least a bachelor’s degree, out of which 51% have a master’s degree ­– Ukrainian refugees are struggling with language proficiency.

Our data also shows that 67% of Ukrainians arriving in Winnipeg are women while only 33% are men. With this, we know that need for childcare is going to be a priority before they can look for work.

Visit the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) website for a list of resources to support Ukrainian nationals.

Currently, Ukrainians are relying on social groups and online platforms such as Facebook to connect with people within the same community to gather information on events and resources within the city. While this platform is suitable for settlement resources, it can be misleading when it comes to work search. A suitable Canadian-style resume should be completed by a trained career practitioner and their work search guided by relevant labour market information.

Given the unique status of the Ukrainian refugees and the urgency of finding employment, many employers have shown interest in hiring Ukrainian refugees. To expedite this process, Manitoba Start has developed an accelerated program that focuses on resume writing and work search. This two-hour session is offered three times per week, both in person and virtually. Participants leave with a finalized resume and information on where and how to submit resumes when applying for jobs.

When working with anyone that has left a life-threatening situation of a war conflict, career practitioners need to be mindful of the trauma the individuals may have been exposed to. Similarly, working with Ukrainian refugees requires some understanding of the conflict to plan for proper interventions. Having a Ukrainian career practitioner on staff who can speak Ukrainian would be highly beneficial.

Resettling is a challenging journey. Refugees, including Ukrainian nationals rely on service providers as well as career practitioners to guide them through the process of settlement and work search. Availability of services may differ from province to province however, knowing where to access the resources will ensure this process is smooth and efficient.

Medina Puskar Author
Medina Puskar is a Registered Social Worker and Manager of Career Services at Manitoba Start where she leads a team of trained and certified career coaches effectively guiding newcomers to find meaningful employment. Prior to being in a leadership role, she worked as a Career Coach/Facilitator, teaching employability skills and job search techniques. Medina completed the Career Development Practitioner Certification diploma from University of Winnipeg and hold a Bachelor of Social Work from University of Manitoba. As a refugee herself, she understands the challenges newcomers face in finding meaningful employment. Motivated by data, she is always eager to uncover new trends and strives to implement them in strategic planning within the organization.
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Medina Puskar Author
Medina Puskar is a Registered Social Worker and Manager of Career Services at Manitoba Start where she leads a team of trained and certified career coaches effectively guiding newcomers to find meaningful employment. Prior to being in a leadership role, she worked as a Career Coach/Facilitator, teaching employability skills and job search techniques. Medina completed the Career Development Practitioner Certification diploma from University of Winnipeg and hold a Bachelor of Social Work from University of Manitoba. As a refugee herself, she understands the challenges newcomers face in finding meaningful employment. Motivated by data, she is always eager to uncover new trends and strives to implement them in strategic planning within the organization.
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