Hospitality Dunlop House. Photo by : Camosun AV Services
Hospitality Dunlop House. Photo by : Camosun AV Services

WUSC partners with Camosun and Canadian workplaces to welcome nine refugee youth from Kenya to British Columbia through HIRES

CANADA (Nov. 9, 2021) – This fall, WUSC and Camosun College welcomed nine refugee youth from Kenya to British Columbia, Canada through HIRES, a unique new employment-linked sponsorship pathway in collaboration with Tofino’s hospitality sector. Participants will complete a two-month hospitality management education program at Camosun College in Victoria before joining their new workplaces and sponsorship groups in Tofino, in November 2021. 

This new initiative, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, builds on WUSC’s long-standing Student Refugee Program model and looks to further expand access to economic opportunities for refugee youth and enhance their economic integration into the Canadian labour market. Four sponsorship groups through champion employers in Tofino—Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino Resort & Marina, and Shelter/ Shed Restaurant—will be welcoming these first nine HIRES participants. Additional workplace partners, like Surf Grove Campground, and Pacific Sands Beach Resort are excited to do the same in 2022.

Camosun College’s participation builds on decades of experience delivering real-world applied learning and student employment opportunities in partnership with local and regional employers.

“Colleges provide really good placement and access opportunities for refugee students,” explains Geoff Wilmshurst, VP of Partnerships at Camosun College. “They can benefit from the care and attention from applied, job-ready learning they receive in the college environment here at Camosun.”

The unique combination of applied training, Canadian employment experience and the opportunity in the future for participants to upgrade their education, aligns with the values of Camosun as an educational institution that puts the needs of students first.

“In my opinion we have a responsibility as Canadians to help people who find themselves in difficult situations through no fault of their own, and unique programs like this provide life-changing opportunities to allow refugees to get started in their new lives on a really sound footing,” says Wilmshurst. “It’s totally unique, a brilliant initiative, and it’s the natural evolution in refugee sponsorship programming in Canada.” 

Through HIRES, Canadian workplaces and business leaders are taking action to respond to the global refugee crisis through newcomer employment and leveraging community sponsorship. 

“Tofino has always been forward thinking and HIRES is a perfect example of a special opportunity for participants and businesses in the area,” explains Samantha Hackett, General Manager from Long Beach Lodge Resort.

Frauke Nitz, HR Manager from Tofino Resort & Marina adds, “Through HIRES, our community can continue advocating for equal opportunity and uphold the importance of diversity through professional empowerment for all.”

Immigration has long been integral to the growth of the Canadian economy and remains as important now as ever as we recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. HIRES offers a responsive approach to help rebuild our economy while also supporting Canadian employers to rebuild inclusively, by integrating diverse employment-ready talent into their workplace.

“Leveraging education, training and employment opportunities through employment-linked sponsorship to provide economic opportunities and durable solutions to refugees in a safe third country has great potential globally, and is an exciting way to mobilize new funds and engage new actors, including local businesses to create more opportunities to support the more than 15 million refugee youth around the world,” explains Chris Eaton, Executive Director at WUSC.  

Next year, the hospitality industry in Kelowna, Vernon, and Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C., are set to join Tofino in championing welcoming and diverse workplaces through HIRES.


About WUSC: WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization working to create a better world for all young people. We bring together a diverse network of students, volunteers, schools, governments, and businesses who share this vision. Together, we foster youth-centred solutions for education, economic opportunities, and empowerment to overcome inequality and exclusion in over 25 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Our flagship program, the Student Refugee Program, has been providing Canadian post-secondary education and resettlement opportunities to young refugees for over 40 years.

About Camosun College: Camosun, located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia with campuses on the Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, is one of the largest colleges in British Columbia.  Established in 1971, Camosun now celebrates 50 years of delivering over 160 innovative, life-changing academic and applied programs.

For more information, please contact: 

Alizée Zapparoli-Manzoni-Bodson
Manager, Strategic Communications
[email protected]

Ivan Watson
Marketing and Communication Strategist
Camosun College
[email protected]

WUSC works to create a better world for all young people. To learn more, start here or subscribe to get highlights straight to your inbox. Interested in volunteering internationally? View our current opportunities. Looking for a new career opportunity? Check out our current job openings. Or show your support for our cause by making a donation.


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