A foot in the door

CFB Esquimalt first and only military base in Canada to host unique Federal Internship for Newcomers program

Etsuko Shibata

After a year spent pounding the pavement in the frustrating hunt for steady work, Isaac Rosas Bermuduz got his big break with a good news email and phone call from CFB Esquimalt.

Rosas Bermuduz and his wife were overcome with emotion.

“A great relief, let me tell you,” Rosas Bermuduz said of securing casual administrative employment at the base’s Fleet Maintenance Facility. “I immediately called my wife. We started crying. It was a great blessing.”

The Victoria resident, who arrived from Vera Cruz, Mexico almost six years ago, was one of two newcomers to Canada hired last October as part of the new Federal Internship for Newcomers program.

CFB Esquimalt is the first and only Canadian military base to try the program, spearheaded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Ottawa.

The base found its candidates through the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, which helps immigrants, refugees, new Canadian citizens and visible minorities with everything from settling in society to finding work.

The internship allowed Etsuko Shibata to leave behind her retail job in Victoria and return to the office administration field she enjoyed before moving from Nagoya, Japan eight years ago.

Today, she processes some of the 1,500 travel claims generated annually by some of the 1,200 civilians at the maintenance facility.

“Before I had experience, but employers are looking for local experience in Canada,” Shibata said.

The interns have exceeded their employer’s expectations.

“They want to be here. For us it’s been the cream of the crop,” said Peggy Maher, administrative services supervisor at the Fleet Maintenance Facility.

“We went into it thinking, ‘Well, we’ll see what happens,’ but I would encourage any (federal department) to go for it,” the Saanich resident said. “If this is what the program is, I’d be willing to do it again and again and again.”

In September up to four more interns may be hired to work at the base in such fields as computer science and logistics.

“It’s just a very good success story for us to say we can do this again,” said Margot Cutcher, the West Coast navy’s human resources business manager.

“It’s been such a win-win in that it showed us that newcomers with some work experience and opportunity can thrive in our workplace, and at the same time it feels good to give someone some work experience.”

It is also important for the Department of National Defence to be a diverse workplace.

“We have to reflect the Canadian population so this is an important piece of that,” Cutcher said.

Though his internship will come to an end in early May, Rosas Bermuduz is optimistic about the future, having gained in-depth experience in records management and specialized computer training.

“With the programs that we’re learning, the cross-cultural training that we have, certainly some letters of reference and the contacts and networking, it’s a different standpoint from where I was before,” he said.

 

 

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read