Moe Mottaghi, who immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2014, speaks about his experience so far with Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society’s Intercultural Logistics and Transportation Operations Project 55+. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey groups receive funding for training support for people 55-plus

PICS getting $728K to help 120 people over two years

For Moe Mottaghi, he has two challenges when searching for a job: being a senior and being an immigrant.

But for the past two months, Mottaghi has been getting help from Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society’s (PICS) new Intercultural Logistics and Transportation Operations for Older Workers, a program offered in Surrey and Vancouver.

The program is meant to help workers, aged 55 and over, to find employment in the transportation and logistics industry, with available training for class 4 licences, business coaching, taxi-host training, first aid and more.

“This program is making people my age feel that we are still valued and useful. It presents an opportunity skills that we didn’t know exist,” said Mottaghi, who immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2014.

Mottaghi, who is “really happy” to be in the program, said he’s also trying to improve his communication skills since English is his second language.

“For me, personally, I have two challenges to find a job: I’m a senior (and an) immigrant. So English is my second language and I have to look for a job different than young people.”

Satbir Cheema, PICS CEO, said the program is “very important because at that age, most of us do need help.”

The PICS’s program is one of three Surrey programs that has received provincial funding for skills training to support people aged 55-plus.

The PICS is receiving $782,322 for the next two years to help 120 people.

Sources Community Resource Society will receive $825,178 over two years to help 99 people with its Empowered for Employment, an administration and accounting works program in Surrey.

S.U.C.C.E.S.S will be receiving $1,034,421 over two years to help 130 people with its Digital Skills Upgrading for Job Seekers program.

Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh made the announcement at PICS in Newton Friday (Dec. 13).

READ ALSO: Surrey YMCA pool to be upgraded thanks to $250K in community gaming grants, Dec. 12, 2019

She said people aged 55 and over can “face barriers to employment, like a lack of recent experience, skills or training opportunities.”

“We need to break those barriers.”

Seventeen skills-training programs throughout B.C., including the three in Surrey, are receiving a total of $5 million annually to deliver “locally designed skills-training programs and supports to an estimated 733 British Columbians a year,” according to a release from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Skills Training for Employment programs are funding through the Canada-B.C. Workforce Development Agreement, which was signed in 2018. It provides $685 million over six years and “flexibility to design and deliver locally driven, responsive and inclusive” labour market programming for people in B.C.

READ ALSO: Eight Surrey groups to share $375K in grant money, Dec. 12, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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