Culture Training and Job Placements Helps Cambiran Credit Union Address Labour Shortage

Cambrian Credit Union knew it faced an increasing shortage of skilled workers. It also knew the 2003 Canada-Manitoba Immigration Agreement projected 10,000 new immigrants would come to Manitoba by 2006. Cambrian’s Vice-President of Human Resources, Christina Semaniuk, seized the opportunity to tap into this new skilled labour pool, and ensure Cambrian’s workforce reflected changes to their customer base.

Under Semaniuk’s leadership, Cambrian partnered with the Government of Manitoba and four other credit unions to deliver a customer service training program for immigrants under the Manitoba Immigration Integration Program in late 2004. The program, run each spring and fall, offers participants a five-week “Culture and Communications” pre-training program.

This program is followed by 12 weeks of paid, on-the-job training. At Cambrian, participants go through the credit union’s standard five-day in-house training, and then work alongside other employees. Although program graduates are not guaranteed full-time employment, 81 per cent have been hired full-time by the credit unions in which they were placed. Cambrian aims to fill up to half its new positions (typically 25 new hires per year) through this program.

The Manitoba Immigrant Integration Program attracts participants through local immigrant employment services, ESL schools and government networks. Candidates submit resumés and are screened for banking, customer service and computer skills, Canadian language benchmark 7+ abilities, and a minimum high school education.

In March 2006, Cambrian Credit Union’s leadership on this initiative was recognized with a Gold level Human Resources Leadership Award from the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba.

Cambrian Credit Union is a leading provider of banking and financial services in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba. With 49,000 members, and over 200 staff in 11 branches, it is Manitoba’s fastest growing credit union by asset growth.

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