A Community Approach Attracts Immigrants to Rodrigues Winery

Many of the employees at Natural Newfoundland Nutraceuticals, a division of Rodrigues Winery in Newfoundland, are skilled immigrants. But it’s not easy to attract highly specialized staff to rural Newfoundland, says Dr. A.H. Rodrigues, president and CEO of Rodrigues Winery.

He credits the company’s success to its warm approach to welcoming immigrants.

“We spend time with the family,” says Dr. Rodrigues. “We make the housing and travel easier by making the arrangements for them. We introduce them to the community by using our personal contacts.”

The company partners with the Association for New Canadians in St. John’s to provide new staff with ESL training if they need it. Dr. Rodrigues has found specialized staff quickly overcome language barriers others might have because “scientific language is scientific language – no matter where you come from.” The Association for New Canadians also provides community support to help new immigrants settle into the community.

The benefits skilled immigrants bring to the company are recognized and they are paid accordingly. The company provides a three-year contract for skilled immigrants to give them opportunities to advance in the company. Like other employees, skilled immigrants are also rewarded for good performance with shares in the company.

The investment has paid off, says Dr. Rodrigues.

“Our Ayurvedic Chemist promotes our products globally through the internet, and uses web conferencing to share scientific information with other nutraceutical companies,” he says. And employees market the company’s products in their home countries.

Tips for Employers:

  • Make it easier for immigrants to settle in remote areas by helping with housing and travel arrangements and introducing them to people in the community.
  • Partner with immigrant-serving organizations to provide English language if needed.

Natural Newfoundland Nutraceuticals Inc. (NNNInc.) was launched in 2004 as a division of Rodrigues Winery, Newfoundland’s first winery. NNNInc. uses specialized technology to extract juices and other compounds from Newfoundland’s fruit and berries for healthy fruit drinks and vitamin supplements. The company now has a staff of 14.

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