A foot in the door

CFB Esquimalt first and only military base in Canada to host unique Federal Internship for Newcomers program

Etsuko Shibata

After a year spent pounding the pavement in the frustrating hunt for steady work, Isaac Rosas Bermuduz got his big break with a good news email and phone call from CFB Esquimalt.

Rosas Bermuduz and his wife were overcome with emotion.

“A great relief, let me tell you,” Rosas Bermuduz said of securing casual administrative employment at the base’s Fleet Maintenance Facility. “I immediately called my wife. We started crying. It was a great blessing.”

The Victoria resident, who arrived from Vera Cruz, Mexico almost six years ago, was one of two newcomers to Canada hired last October as part of the new Federal Internship for Newcomers program.

CFB Esquimalt is the first and only Canadian military base to try the program, spearheaded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Ottawa.

The base found its candidates through the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, which helps immigrants, refugees, new Canadian citizens and visible minorities with everything from settling in society to finding work.

The internship allowed Etsuko Shibata to leave behind her retail job in Victoria and return to the office administration field she enjoyed before moving from Nagoya, Japan eight years ago.

Today, she processes some of the 1,500 travel claims generated annually by some of the 1,200 civilians at the maintenance facility.

“Before I had experience, but employers are looking for local experience in Canada,” Shibata said.

The interns have exceeded their employer’s expectations.

“They want to be here. For us it’s been the cream of the crop,” said Peggy Maher, administrative services supervisor at the Fleet Maintenance Facility.

“We went into it thinking, ‘Well, we’ll see what happens,’ but I would encourage any (federal department) to go for it,” the Saanich resident said. “If this is what the program is, I’d be willing to do it again and again and again.”

In September up to four more interns may be hired to work at the base in such fields as computer science and logistics.

“It’s just a very good success story for us to say we can do this again,” said Margot Cutcher, the West Coast navy’s human resources business manager.

“It’s been such a win-win in that it showed us that newcomers with some work experience and opportunity can thrive in our workplace, and at the same time it feels good to give someone some work experience.”

It is also important for the Department of National Defence to be a diverse workplace.

“We have to reflect the Canadian population so this is an important piece of that,” Cutcher said.

Though his internship will come to an end in early May, Rosas Bermuduz is optimistic about the future, having gained in-depth experience in records management and specialized computer training.

“With the programs that we’re learning, the cross-cultural training that we have, certainly some letters of reference and the contacts and networking, it’s a different standpoint from where I was before,” he said.



Just Posted

McClure house fire saw Victoria firefighters utilize drone for first time in live situation

Aerial device feeds intel to crews to help formulate firefighting action plans

Victoria beer leaguer turns heads as Joe Thornton doppleganger

Joe Thornton lookalike from Victoria makes it on NHL.com

Jazz songstress Ellen Doty brings her sweet sound to Hermann’s Jazz Club

March 27 concert in Victoria part of national CD release tour

Victoria says #NeverAgain in solidarity with March For Our Lives

Youth Political Commons invites public to rally against gun violence March 24 at legislature

Why are these Saanich lots still sitting vacant?

Mayfair Lanes lot still empty, 12 years later

Submariners come home after 197-day deployment

Tears and laughter filled the jetty where emotional friends and family welcomed the HMCS Submarine Chicoutimi

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Charges formally laid against Nanaimo city manager

City of Nanaimo CAO Tracy Renee Samra charged with fear of injury/damage by another person

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read