English language training for newcomers in Thompson is now possible through a partnership with Red River College’s (RRC) Language Training Centre and University College of the North (UCN).
“We’ve welcomed about 200 people to Thompson in the last year, and many of the newcomers have valuable skills to offer – the only barrier keeping them from the kind of job they’re qualified for is language,” says David Williamson, Acting Dean of Access at UCN. “Partnering with Red River College means we are giving our newcomers access to knowledge and resources that will help them confidently integrate into our community.”
As of today there have been 65 applications to the Language Training Centre in Thompson, with 48 students already beginning their training.
“What this partnership allows us to do is provide the students with the language and communication skills they need in order to achieve their professional and educational goals,” said Anna Janik- Kelly, Program Manager for Thompson and Arborg at the Language Training Centre. “We want to help them become thriving members of the Northern community, who can use their skills and experience to enrich and strengthen the workforce and help fill some of the labor market gaps.”
The program is an expansion of the Language Training Centre in Winnipeg, which sees approximately 1,000 students per year improving their English to enroll in a program at the College, gain employment, or to become more independent in everyday life. The Centre also offers English for Specific Purposes programs, which focus on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market. Over the past year the Centre has expanded to Arborg, Steinbach, Selkirk and Thompson – areas which were identified as having the most need for a language training program.
“In the past two months since the program has begun we’ve felt a new burst of life on campus,” said Williamson. “We’re hoping to spread the word about what the Language Training Centre can provide, and welcome more newcomers to improve their skills.”
Through the partnership in Thompson, UCN is providing space for the classes, space for an administrative assistant, storage, laptops and access to printing and photocopying – all of which are essential to helping the program run smoothly.
Classes administered by the Language Training Centre are five-months in length, though students can continue taking a class if they feel they need additional training. The programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).