SUCCESS: A Newcomer, A Local Business and
Chris Eyes and John Tak are small business owners who operate Dentak Laboratory, located in Ajax, Ontario. As Chris explains, "Dentak designs and manufactures fixed and removable dental prosthesis and orthodontic appliances for dentists." Clearly, Dentak Laboratory provides an invaluable service in the dental industry.
In January 2008, James (Sang Gyu) Lee, a new employee, joined Dentak as a dental technician. He was recruited by Dentak after the company’s exhaustive search failed to locate a suitable local candidate.
James immigrated to Canada from Korea. He arrived alone and began working at Dentak Laboratory; his wife and infant baby soon followed. James and his wife spoke very little English. The adjustment to living and working in Canada has been very difficult. However, unlike many newcomers, James (Sang Gyu) was fortunate to have been sponsored by Dentak, who had hired a ‘head hunter’ to assist the company with its recruitment process.
Upon starting work at Dentak, the biggest challenge for James was communicating with his boss and colleagues. As Chris states, “James is hard working and a dedicated employee, with exceptional ‘technical skills’. Our biggest problem was communicating in English.”
This challenge was met through English @ Work, a pilot program offered through Durham Continuing Education; designed to assist employed newcomers to Durham Region with English language skills. Customized classes are designed to meet the needs of the employee, the employer and the worksite. The program provides basic communication strategies. Additionally, the program helps employers understand that effective communication is sometimes impeded by differences in cultural communication styles, social norms and expectations. It's a win-win!
Sang Gyu (James) and Dentak Laboratory have been participating in the English@Work program, since September 2009. The program has provided Sang Gyu with the confidence and skills to ask questions when he doesn't understand something at work. It has also helped Chris and John increase their understanding on how to communicate more effectively with Sang Gyu. For Sang Gyu, Chris, John and the company, the on-site classes have been very helpful.
To quote Chris, "I feel English@Work is an important program. I have first hand experience with communication difficulties in the workplace with poeple new to this country. This program offers employers ideas on improving communication as well as teaching ESL. These combined efforts, as well as concentrating on employer needs, improve my confidence that instructions are more clearly understood. This helps wht employee feel a more connected and valued member of our team" And, what does Sang Gyu think about the English@Work program? He says, "It's great. It really helps me."
The English@Work program is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.