One of the greatest challenges for newcomers is to find that first job to can gain Canadian work experience. The Enhanced Employability Essential Language Skills (EEELS) class that is offered at Holland College through its LINC program, for newcomers with Level 6 and above English skills, is instrumental in helping its students gain their first work placements in various companies and businesses. PEI ANC referred both Shan Ying Wang, who arrived on PEI in December, 2013, and Torsten Kutterer, who arrived in April, 2014, to the LINC program. It was there they became friends and gained their first Canadian work experiences.
A PNP client, Shan Ying’s obligations under the program were to open, buy or invest in a business. He discussed these options with his ANC Employment Counsellor, Etta Esler. As the owner of a factory in Ningbo, China, Shan Ying was advised by Etta to gain some Canadian work experience, before opening his own company. In July 2014 he opened Reito Industrial Products, Ltd. Reito creates precision castings from metal as well as plastics, mainly for furniture and the auto and construction industries.
In the fall of 2014, Shan Ying and Torsten met again in the Newcomer Entrepreneur program (NEP) offered by the PEI ANC in partnership with the PEI Connectors program. They studied the components of a business plan and received fi rst-hand information from local experts on business topics. They made vital connections with other newcomers and established Islanders. Before moving to Canada, Kutterer had worked as sales and marketing manager of a family-run wine business in Germany. Shan Ying decided to hire Torsten to market his company.
Shan Ying emphasizes the importance of making connections. “If you are a newcomer you have to go out and meet people. When I came to PEI, I went fishing, I played soccer, I volunteered. The more people you know the better.”
Torsten agrees. “Building a network is vital. Joining Holland College and taking a class like the EEELS class lets you meet people at once.” When Torsten and his wife, Anja, came to PEI, they signed up for Employment Services, volunteered for different community events, took Mandarin classes, and attended local concerts and PEI ANC events.
Both men feel the Island is an excellent place for Reito to grow, as there are numerous export opportunities and room for innovation. Shan Ying is looking to expand into North America, while Reito’s primary market is currently Germany — a decided asset in Torsten’s favour given his knowledge of the language and culture. “We have recently hired an established Islander, on contract, to enhance our work on Prince Edward Island,” says Shan Ying. “Things are starting to move in the right direction for Reito.”