Canadian Association for Supported Employment

MentorAbility Canada Hub Highlight Series

Every month, MentorAbility Canada proudly presents one of our implementing partners. They are the MentorAbility coordinators—the backstage workers who quietly go about their tasks to ensure that job seekers, employers, and service providers can shine in the spotlight.

For the French version of this post, please click here.

Pour la version française de cet article, veuillez cliquer ici.

MentorAbility Newfoundland & Labrador:
Invested in Community Success

The MentorAbility Canada inititiave, in collaboration with provincial and territorial Hub partners across the country, promotes the inclusion of persons experiencing disability in the workforce. Coordinated by Avalon Employment Inc., MentorAbility Newfoundland & Labrador leverages their region’s unique characteristics to build strong and lasting connections between participants and stakeholders in all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Shelley Andrews, Employment Counsellor, and Courtney Abbott, MentorAbility Provincial Coordinator, both based in St. John’s, will oversee MentorAbility in Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Leveraging a Strong Social Fabric

Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique history and geography have created a close-knit society marked by a strong sense of community. MentorAbility strategically taps into this asset, using existing networks to recruit participants, fostering a supportive program environment, maximizing reach, and promoting inclusivity within the province.

Hub Highlight - MentorAbility Newfoundland & Labrador. Lumière sur MentorHabiletés Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Avalon Employment Inc. CASE/ACSE.
“When you find employers who really get it, it's very exciting to make those connections, because you know that they're very supportive of our program, our initiative, and what it is we're hoping to achieve together” 

Courtney Abbott, MentorAbility Provincial Coordinator, Avalon Employment 

Participants Invested in Each Other's Success

MentorAbility Newfoundland & Labrador has a positive impact on all participants. Mentees gain skills and experience, mentors share their knowledge and expertise, and businesses benefit from a more diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Courtney underlines the enthusiasm generated by the connections created between mentees and mentors, who feel invested in each other’s development and success. Shelley mentions that MentorAbility allows businesses to develop their skills and to better understand the needs of persons experiencing disability, which supports them in making their workplaces more inclusive.  

By understanding the needs of persons who experience disability and having access to the necessary tools and resources, businesses can better demonstrate their commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA), which can enhance their reputation and appeal to socially responsible customers and investors.  

Ultimately, this inclusion-focused approach fosters a more dynamic and creative work environment where every individual feels valued and contributes fully to the company’s success. 

“Some folks may hesitate. ‘Did I give enough information? Was I empathetic enough? Did I use the right lingo?’ This is an opportunity for both mentors and mentees to learn it is a safe space and this is an opportunity for both to learn.” 

Shelley Andrews, Employment Counsellor, Avalon Employment

Learning and Networking Valuable in Limited Job Market

In Newfoundland and Labrador’s limited job market, the short-term nature of MentorAbility experiences provides participants with valuable insights and connections that may not otherwise be available.  

While the program can ultimately lead to employment, the value of learning and networking is also emphasized. One participant who gained valuable experience in the video game industry made connections with industry professionals and gained insights into potential career paths. The experience itself was a success. 

"Following the mentorship, organizing a lunch and learn session to offer additional insights could be beneficial. It's about shifting the mindset.” 

Courtney Abbott 

Strategies for Continuous Improvement

Shelley emphasizes the importance of perseverance and collaboration to overcome obstacles and to continually move the MentorAbility program forward. 

The team in Newfoundland and Labrador is constantly looking for new ways to recruit participants and mentors, strengthen partnerships, evaluate the program’s impact, and adapt to the unique needs of the community. 

"When you find employers who really get it, it's very exciting to make those connections, because you know that they're very supportive of our program and what it is we're hoping to achieve together.” 

Courtney Abbott 

By leveraging Newfoundland and Labrador’s close-knit social fabric, adapting to the local pace, and addressing the limited job market, MentorAbility Newfoundland and Labrador’s program contributes to creating a more inclusive and prosperous work environment for all.

For more information about MentorAbility Newfoundland & Labrador, visit the Avalon Employment website.

MentorAbility Partners Foster Community Partnerships

MentorAbility team members play a crucial role in fostering and supporting partnerships and collaborations and in ensuring seamless interactions between mentors, mentees, employers, and community organizations. 

Their dedication to fostering inclusive environments and creating equitable opportunities forms the backbone of MentorAbility’s success. 

To learn more about how to become a MentorAbility partner, visit the CASE website.