Construction and building maintenance

An overview of job opportunities in the construction trades in the GTA, with discussion of occupations in this sector; types of employers; expected compensation; English speaking requirement; licensing and training requirements; apprenticeships and other training programs available; and stories in the media.

Landscaping and horticulture

An overview of job opportunities in landscaping and horticulture in the GTA, with discussion of different occupations in this sector; types of employers; expected compensation; English speaking and licensing requirements; training programs available; questions to help determine if this seems like good work for a particular individual; comments about seasonality, the impact of inclement weather, hiring periods during the year; job boards commonly used, a recommendation to learn work-specific terminology; and questions to ask at a job interview.

Automotive service technician

Automotive service technician is a regulated trade in Ontario, requiring an apprenticeship or passage of a Trade Equivalency Assessment. This post includes descriptions of the types of work available, certification requirements, and training programs in the GTA.

English vs. work in the first year

Rates of advancement to be expected from English language courses; the value of achieving higher CLB levels; countering a desire to drop formal English instruction; use of video to monitor progress; opportunities to practice English with a newcomer at home and to improve English on the job.

Canadian Language Benchmarks

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) provides a common assessment method for individuals who are learning English as a second language. This post discusses their purpose and the means of assessment. It explains the classification of 12 benchmarks into three stages and provides a link to “Can Do statements”, in terms of listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities.

Employment-related language training

A guide to learning work-specific English at the various CLB levels and for various occupations.

Specialized English work vocabulary – Landscaping

Ideas on how to help newcomers learn landscaping terminology, with a list included of work-related vocabulary, organized by category (Digging tools; Gardening tools; Construction hand tools; Shears & pruning hand tools; Large power tools; Heavy equipment; Other equipment; Safety equipment and clothing; Snow & Ice-related; Striking tools; Wheelbarrows & yard carts; Fasteners; Construction materials & parts, etc.)

Where to begin

When and what to talk about, including: pre-arrival, within a sponsorship group; and with the newcomer soon after arrival; when formulating a plan; when preparation for a job search begins; and after a first hire.