Youth & Refugees Gaining Meaningful Experience through Refugee Jumpstart

This blog post was written in collaboration with DiverseCity Community Resource Society’s Volunteer Fair for Newcomers. Volunteering is a great way for new immigrants to gain experience, meet new people, learn about workplace culture norms, improve communication skills and give back to the community.

February 15, 2022 | Written by: Gagan Gill

Are you new to Canada with valuable expertise from your home-country? Are you young and looking for academic related experience? Then Refugee Jumpstart may be what you are looking for.

What is Refugee JumpstartAnd Where Is It?

    Refugee Jumpstart is a Canada wide organization that helps refugees with expertise find meaningful employment, rather than entry level positions. Through their ties with numerous Canadian professionals (such as business employers and Human Resource practitioners), clients have access to mentorships, events, workshops and coding programs. Various success stories of clients gaining meaningful experiences are posted under the “Our Story” tab. One story follows the mentorship between Giovanna (a Vice-Principal) and Laila (a newly settled refugee). Laila, who is experienced in education, office administration and translating languages, expressed wanting more network opportunities with people related to these fields. Therefore, Giovanna helped connect Laila to faculty members at the University of Calgary. This interaction with the faculty members helped her become more aware of which educational courses were available to her. This allowed Laila to access employment related resources like LinkedIn which is a social media platform for professional interactions between job seekers and employers. 

Such programs in Jumpstart can allow people like Laila, who may not have any connections, to form new ones that may ease their settlement in Canada. In short, they assist with jumpstarting the careers of refugees. 

What roles are available at Jumpstart

            If you wish to volunteer, you can become a program associate. This involves helping clients with various tasks at Jumpstart like grant applications, delivering workshops and managing social media platforms. Although, the Toronto positions have been filled, there are openings available in Vancouver that may be of interest to anyone between the ages of 18-30. In addition, personalized academic placements and internships for students are available to discuss with the director of operations (Malaz Sebai). 

These roles do require sufficient time commitments.

For youth and students, ages 18-30:

-       Program assistant positions available in Vancouver and Calgary. 

-       Academic placements and internships (email for one-on-one)

How has the pandemic changed accessibility to the organization and volunteer positions

            Most programs and activities have transitioned to virtual platforms, such as online workshops. So, it is beneficial to know how to use multiple online platforms, such as Zoom, Instagram, Google Meet, to name a few. Volunteer positions have been reduced despite the move to virtual platforms. However, the organization is still open to working with volunteers to create more personalized opportunities. They also hope to establish more digital positions for the near future that will be posted on their website.


How can one register and who could you contact for advice?

            If you are a new refugee and would like to become a Refugee Jumpstart client, you can register online or email Malaz Sebai (whose contacts are listed below).

For volunteer or internships, feel free to email Malaz Sebai. 

Malaz Sebai – Director of Operations

-       Email: