Frances Braceland, a newcomer to PEI, secured employment as a Project Manager with Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation (SAB) in 2016.
Frances moved to PEI from Scotland with her husband, Dr. Mark Braceland, a Research Scientist who accepted a position at the Center for Aquaculture Technologies in Souris.
Frances has an undergraduate degree in Zoology, which studies animals in the natural world. Her former employment working in museums teaching natural history was a good match with volunteering for Island Nature Trust.
Staff at Island Nature Trust suggested Frances to speak with Fred Cheverie, Watershed Coordinator with SAB, about employment opportunities.
The organization has three year-round staff: a Watershed Coordinator and two Project Managers. “I began volunteering with SAB and spoke with Fred about employment at every opportunity,” says Frances.
“Frances volunteered for a couple of weeks,” adds Fred. “We got a grasp of her potential as an employee. She had the qualities we desired for this organization.
“With the help of PEI Association for Newcomers, we were directed to the SkillsPEI Graduate Mentorship Program, which subsidizes wages for the first year. This allowed us time to plan a way to keep Frances employed with us year-round.”
Community resources for newcomers
The Graduate Mentorship Program helps unemployed post-secondary graduates develop new skills and gain work experience of their field of study though on-the-job training. A temporary wage subsidy is provided to an employer to create long-term employment opportunities and assist with the cost of hiring and training a new employee.
PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) provides settlement services and inclusion and community integration programs for new immigrants on PEI.
“I didn’t think I qualified for assistance from PEIANC because English is my first language, and I came here from the UK,” says Frances. “I’ve learned the organization is open to assisting anyone, regardless of where they are from.”
Lisa Chaisson, Employment Counsellor with PEIANC, helps Newcomers with their search for work on PEI. “We assist by assessing Newcomers’ employment strengths and skills and exploring options to address employment barriers.
“We help identify suitable employment or volunteer opportunities, and offer one-on-one counselling. Our staff help clients create a work plan and offer ongoing guidance to help newcomers gain Canadian work experience.”
Advice from a newcomer to other newcomers
- Contact PEIANC
- Be willing to attend community events to meet new people.
- Get to know your community, make new connections and new friends through volunteering.
“Once people get to know you, they will assist you in finding employment.”
Hurdles for newcomers
“Searching for housing was challenging,” says Frances.
“The lack of public transport is a big issue as well. It’s hard to search for work if you don’t have a car.
“We had a good credit rating in the UK but it took a year to establish a credit rating when we moved to PEI.
“This made it challenging to purchase a vehicle or to buy a home.”
For more about PEI Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation, visit www.souriswl.com.
For more about PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, visit www.peianc.com.
For more information about SkillsPEI programs visit www.skillspei.com.