PeaceGeeks and Immigrant Networks Pilot New Mentorship Platform
With an increasing number of immigrants arriving in Canada, there is a need for accessible tools that can assist newcomers as they navigate the Canadian job market. To address this need, PeaceGeeks, a Vancouver-based non-profit that creates digital tools to support displaced people, and Immigrant Networks, an on-demand peer-matching platform, are joining forces to launch the pilot phase of Immentor, a new digital mentorship platform.
With support from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, this pilot seeks to improve immigrant access to mentorship and employment opportunities and allow more service provider organizations (SPOs) to offer mentorship to their clients seeking employment.
The new platform will be tested with 12 SPOs across 3 provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. These provinces are the most popular destinations for new migrants to Canada, with Ontario receiving about half of the country’s new permanent residents.
Above: The WES Mariam Assefa Fund team and Immentor team meet at the Metropolis conference in Ottawa in March 2023.
Immentor will also offer SPOs opportunities to collaborate with each other through shared mentor, client, and technology resources. Together, PeaceGeeks and Immigrant Networks hope to use the results of this pilot to inform the federal government and help fund mentorship programs through a shared technology platform that could be available to all settlemen organizations serving immigrants.
“We need to offer better, more efficient digital services to newcomers now, but also invest in the development of a digital ecosystem today to serve newcomers in the future. We have seen the power of human-centred tech design, extensive public-private-community collaboration, and ongoing, iterative learning to do that.”
Jennifer Freeman, CEO of PeaceGeeks
Here is a closer look at the grantee partners involved in the project:
PeaceGeeks, founded in 2011, has grown from a grassroots volunteer group into a leading non-profit that develops technology products and research to transform the journeys of newcomers and strengthen human rights around the world.
The Immentor initiative builds on lessons learned from a previous PeaceGeeks pilot, supported with funding from Immigration, Refugees Citizenship Canada. An app called Skilled Newcomers and Professionals Partnership matched immigrants with local professionals for quick, low-barrier conversations on entering the Canadian job market.
Launched during the first year of the pandemic, Immigrant Networks is the brainchild of Nick Noorani, an immigrant himself who founded Canadian Immigrant magazine and the program for immigrants. He also co-wrote the handbook Arrival Survival Canada.
Immigrant Networks addresses one of the biggest pain points for newcomers – a lack of social capital and professional networks. By using an artificial intelligence-based software, Immigrant Networks matches newcomers for a free weekly video call with a professional from their occupation. Now in its third year of operation, Immigrant Networks has served more than 15,000 immigrants both pre- and post-arrival.
“In all our connections in the past years, mentorship kept coming up. In our studies we found a great opportunity to deliver a digital solution that would be more effective and trackable. We partnered with PeaceGeeks as they too were working on a similar initiative.”
Nick Noorani, CEO of Immigrant Networks
Through their innovative work, PeaceGeeks and Immigrant Networks are partnering to provide newcomers in Canada with access to mentorship and employment opportunities and thus ensuring a more inclusive workforce and economy.