Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

June 22, 2018

Unique Social Enterprise Supports Skills Development, Employment
Opportunities for Newcomers

The Honourable Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today announced more than $134,000 through the Labour Market Development Agreement for the Partakes Creative Sewing Atelier, a unique social enterprise that is helping newcomers develop entrepreneurial skills.

Following a call for proposals in fall 2017, the Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council (RIAC) received $41,000 through the Labour Market Development Agreement to establish the atelier as a newcomer settlement and integration initiative. The project has been operating for approximately six months and, to date, has helped 16 newcomers from eight countries with entrepreneurial skills development and training in sewing and tailoring.

The funding announced today will help the atelier further expand its activities, including adding new lines of business, and enhanced capacity for commercial production. RIAC will also provide advanced sewing classes, expand studio space, and upgrade equipment, as it builds its sustainability model.

Participants, including former refugees, immigrants, and international students interested in establishing a business, have been working on producing socially conscious products. This includes reusable bags, chemo port pillows for cancer patients, stuffed toys for children, and culturally-inspired fashions for a growing population.

This initiative delivers on commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the province’s economic foundation and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca External Link Icon.

 

Quotes
“The Partakes Creative Sewing Atelier provides skills development, potential employment opportunities, and a sense of belonging for newcomers. Participants, including former refugees, are developing businesses using the skills they learned through the Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council. This unique social enterprise is helping newcomers establish new connections to their community and helping build a sense of belonging. This initiative supports our efforts through The Way Forward on Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador to increase newcomer retention.”
Honourable Al Hawkins
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour

“Social enterprises enrich communities by using a blended approach with consideration for social and economic benefits. That is why our government, as an action of The Way Forward, recently released a Social Enterprise Action Plan. I commend the Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council for exploring a social enterprise model that engages former refugees, immigrants, and international students.”
Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

“The need for a productive means and opportunities for refugees, immigrants and international students has come to the attention of RIAC over the years. We also hear from isolated women with little opportunity to build a network and business. By making these opportunities available, in partnership with the Provincial Government, we are breaking two of the barriers to retention that newcomers often experience – employment and access to information.”
Jose Rivera
Executive Director, Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council

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Learn more
2018 Diversity Calendar - www.aesl.gov.nl.ca/pdf/immigration_calendar_online.pdf External Link Icon

The Way Forward on Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador - www.aesl.gov.nl.ca/publications/pdf/ImmigrationPlan.pdf External Link Icon

Social Enterprise Action Plan - www.tcii.gov.nl.ca/innovation/pdf/TWFSocialEntActionPlan.pdf External Link Icon

Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council - riac.ca/ External Link Icon

Association for New Canadians - www.ancnl.ca/ External Link Icon

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL External Link Icon, @AESL_GovNL External Link Icon and @TCII_GovNL External Link Icon

 

Media contacts
Ryan Crocker
Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
709-729-1795, 725-9595
ryancrocker@gov.nl.ca

Eric Humber
Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 725-9655
erichumber@gov.nl.ca

Jose Rivera
Executive Director
Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council
Partakes’ Social Enterprise Project
709-754-4122

2018 06 22                              9:55 a.m.