Canadian Contractor

By TalentLift Canada   

Canadian roofing manufacturers hire candidates displaced from Venezuela

Canadian Contractor Trades & Hiring #Hiring #Manufacturing trades

Four men sit on a bench and fill out a job application.

Photo by Miguel Arreategui. Courtesy of TalentLift.

In early April of 2024, the Canadian branch of IKO Industries met 38 Venezuelan refugees in Lima, Peru. The team made 35 conditional offers.

“We’ve had our first round of interviews this morning and I was absolutely amazed with the skilled talent and passion of the people so far,” said Brian Ketcheson, vice president HR and safety at IKO North America.

Over the three-day event, members from the IKO team interviewed candidates who have training and work experience as electricians, mechanics, mechanical and electrical engineers. Successful candidates received job offers as production operators. From there, those who qualify will be supported to advance towards a Red Seal trade certification after arrival in Canada.

The trades skills these candidates will bring to Canada are in extremely high demand and the shortage is set to worsen with nearly 20 per cent of Canadian workers in this sector expected to retire by 2030, according to Employment and Social Development Canada. As recently reported, the shortage makes living costs higher for all Canadians. Fewer trades workers also makes it harder and slower to build the homes needed across the country.

IKO Industries undertook this large-scale recruitment initiative in partnership with TalentLift, a Canadian non-profit international recruitment agency supporting employers to recruit and relocate talent from refugee populations as a solution to skills shortages and displacement. TalentLift had the support of two refugee-serving NGOs in Peru, HIAS and Unión Venezolana en Perú. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) partly funded the event, in line with a Canadian commitment to see more people living displaced in the Americas access safe, regular immigration pathways.

IKO Industries is among a growing group of leading employers globally who are recognizing this immense talent pool, and providing people with a chance to put their skills to use and reach their full potential in a safe new home.

“It’s brilliant to see the IKO team so seamlessly expand their international recruitment efforts to include displaced talent,” said Dana Wagner, co-founder and managing director with TalentLift. “IKO sees the gains for Canada and the major impact for individuals, when talented folks in displacement are given an opportunity.”

There are more than 35 million people living as refugees globally according to The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is a record level of displacement and UNHCR has called for new solutions like job and relocation opportunities to Canada.

“It’s a huge step for my career. For my family, our future,” said one candidate, speaking in Spanish at the recruitment event in Lima in early April.

Another candidate explained, “it feels great and is very rewarding, after many years of effort, to have the possibility of accessing an interview.”

Both candidates received job offers from the IKO team. They are among the 35 others now preparing visas to Canada for themselves and their families.

“There are many thousands of people living as refugees who have the skills needed in our communities,” said Wagner. “We see IKO Industries as the catalyst of a new talent pipeline from the displaced talent pool in Latin America, and beyond, to Canadian manufacturers.”


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