The Hospitality Language Training Program

CultureLink launched the Hospitality Language Training Program in partnership with the Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC) in October 2017.

This pilot program provided training and access to entry level positions in the hospitality industry
to help Syrian newcomers integrate into the job market and the community.

CultureLink helped participants raise their industry-specific English skills to CLB Level 5 and up over a four-week period. Successful students were then enrolled into HWTC’s integrated occupational skills training, wraparound service supports and employment interventions. Upon graduation, they

were connected with employment or provided with the additional help they needed from CultureLink mentors to become more work-ready.

Volunteer mentors are the heart of the program. They not only run the language component of the program, they help to make the materials and activities more relevant and engaging.

Since October 2017, 40 participants completed the language training, some got employed in the industry, and some started their own catering business, while others enhanced their specific-industry language skills and resumed their jobs.


“I am so glad I volunteered to be a Hospitality Language Training Program mentor for Syrian refugees and other newcomers who faced barriers to securing permanent employment. These people are trying hard to make an honest living in Canada but find themselves unable to access the jobs they really need due to language, cultural or financial barriers. After getting to know each of the mentees in a small group setting over four weeks, I feel inspired by the tenacity of the mentees, my faith in humanity has been rejuvenated! I feel proud to be a Canadian, yet also humbled at the same time, after hearing about the hardships and sacrifices each of them had to go through in order to get to Canada and enrolled into this program. Most of all, I’m very grateful for settlement organizations such as Culturelink that have done so much for so many newcomers, delivering value-driven programs day in and day out.”

Chelsea V. Chen


“It was a great pleasure for me to volunteer as a Hospitality Language Training Program mentor for Syrian and other newcomers. I liked almost everything about the Hospitality Language Training Program. I think it gives students an immediate career path without any required experience, which is really needed. I also think it provides an accessible subject around which to practice English, which is great. So, CultureLink keep doing what you are doing, and keep learning what works best.

-Naama Ofrath


“For the past year, I have had the privilege of working closely with the many wonderful families and volunteers who are part of this exceptional initiative and of seeing how the project benefits all participants. It has been exciting to witness the personal growth of the children and their parents as they become more confident in themselves, their English abilities and their ability to connect with their new communities.”

-Monique Schwartz


Hospitality Language Training Program is a great program for newcomers to Canada who wish to work in the restaurant and hospitality industry. It not only explains the terminology of the industry, but also gives the students a realistic experience of expectations, difficulties, and culture of the Canadian hospitality industry. This program works on many levels to the benefit of the newcomer participants. Hanaa, the program coordinator, did a great job organizing this course, it was a ton of work, and she succeeded in making it work. I enjoyed working with her and all the participants, it was time well spent.

-Paul Oxley

My role as an interpreter, I observed the improvement of the participants from the beginning till the end of the course. At the beginning they were counting on interpretation, but at the end they were posing and answering questions easily by themselves.This program is really good mostly for refugees, it introduces them to this industry with a lot of resources and gives them the opportunity to find a job much easier, I hope other refugees will benefit from such programs.

-Khadije Houri


Some newsletter articles about the services offered for Syrians provided  by CultureLink


The Magic of Three by Hanaa Al Sadi



CultureLink Helps Syrians Transition to Employment