BC Businesses Diversify Staff and Look To Supportive Training from L2 Accent Reduction

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BCHRMA Diversity Roundtable hosts discussion panel about communication skills and employee engagement for diverse workplaces.

I'm an engineer?

Because pronunciation is not a focus in a majority of language learning programs, many workers welcome the idea of becoming better communicators to express themselves without regret or hesitation.

Is your pizza being delivered by an agriculture engineer from Dubai?

We have all heard the familiar story of how highly-skilled, internationally-trained professionals are wasting time in low-wage survival jobs. Does this happen because of inadequate language skills? Is it an inability to culturally integrate? Were immigrants misled by a promise that their skills were in demand?

Each story is unique and there are successes as much as failures but the good news is that British Columbia has a strong diverse workforce and its companies are leading the way in finding ways to harness the power and benefits that diversity brings. On Nov.1, 2012, http:// BCHRMA's Diversity Roundtable will host an expert panel discussion that will address communication skills and employee engagement for diverse workplaces.

Raj Sharma, HR Manager for BC Hydro will relate his experiences with training and development for internationally trained professionals. BC Hydro has been recognized as a leader in diversity initiatives for its staff, a process it started over 15 years ago after realizing how dominated its workforce had become by locally born male engineers, who were accustomed to assignments in isolated projects over the vast uninhabited areas of British Columbia. Today, many of BC Hydro's operations have centralized and its workforce has changed too.

ACL Services is also well known for having been a leader in creating diversity policies for its staff. Victoria Darnbrough explains how diversity polices in the workplace can give all workers a fair and equal chance and can define clear boundaries for any workplace conflict that may arise due to cultural difference.

Jeff Madigan, Director of Programs at L2 Accent Reduction Center, works with many large corporations and will discuss how a person's communication skills can become a barrier and how to address accented speech without offending but by empowering. "Because pronunciation is not a focus in a majority of language learning programs, many workers welcome the idea of becoming better communicators to express themselves without regret or hesitation.", says Madigan.

Communication skills improvement is a growing area for training and development, and it’s not just for the immigrant worker. Conflict resolution, public speaking, presentation skills, and negotiation are all areas where employees and companies receive benefits from training. However, for the immigrant worker, communication skills can pose as a larger obstacle, since it is often wrongly associated as having to do with language fluency.

L2 Accent Reduction Center provides workplace training solutions to address unintelligible accented speech and other related communication skills obstacles that can provide barriers to internationally trained professionals in their place of work.

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Jennifer Madigan
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