“Young anglophones need to know that there is a future for them here in Quebec City.”
The interview with Stephen Burke ended with this cry of the heart.
In April, the president of the Central Québec School Board was stung by a report from the Sun recounting the miseries of insurance and financial services companies headquartered in Quebec City and Lévis to recruit workers. bilingual work.
In a letter of opinion published two days later, he wrote to the newspaper to put his salt and open the eyes of the bosses of these companies and, by the band, all employers in the Quebec City area. “Yes, there are bilingual candidates in Quebec,” he argued firmly.
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His public release paid off.
Power 11, the organization that brings together insurance and financial services companies to collectively tackle common issues such as the scarcity of talent, and the Central Québec School Board will build bridges.
Stephen Burke now hopes that this future collaboration will make small with all employers in the Quebec City region who are struggling to find bilingual staff.
“What is bilingual for an employer? Does it boil down to a francophone who speaks English? Why does he not think of a young man named Fitzpatrick or O’Gallagher? They are as Quebeckers as a Tremblay or a Gagnon. And, by hiring them, he will save thousands of dollars in English classes offered to his French-speaking workers! ”
French is fundamental
“I am an Irishman from Quebec. I was born in Quebec City. I did my classes at Saint-Patrick High School and Laval University, “explains the trained actuary who, after working for the insurance company Sun Life, returned to live in Quebec where he worked during 35 in the public service.
Married to a French-Canadian, like his father, he had three children. Their educational progress was in the English-speaking network. They then attended French-speaking Quebec universities.
“I love Quebec. It is the most beautiful city in the world. Do not speak French, it would not be normal. French, for me, is fundamental. ”
Like his father, he had to “convince” his wife to send their children to English school. “I wanted them to be perfectly bilingual.”
The school administrator admits that “it tears his heart” to see that parents choose to leave the English-speaking network when their offspring finish their academic career in primary school. These parents believe that their children will be more likely to find a livelihood in a predominantly francophone environment such as Quebec.
According to Stephen Burke, the anglophone network trains young people who are bilingual. Rare pearls yet so much sought after by companies. They are rare pearls that they leave behind and eventually go elsewhere in Canada or the United States. “It’s a must to inform them about career opportunities, as employers do for young people in the francophone school system.”
“In the English-speaking community of Quebec, we are all bilingual. Do not look for an English ghetto in the capital. It’s not true that we only speak English. Just over 90% of our 4,800 students at the Central Québec School Board have a francophone parent. ”
Stop the exodus
This reality, according to Stephen Burke, is unknown by companies in the Quebec City area. He immediately recognizes that the school board could do more to promote its students to businesses. “We can work together. We have to work together. ”
Rare employers who show up on the occasion of the career day organized annually by the school board which administers twenty schools and centers of adult education and vocational training in the region of Quebec, Thetford Mines, Saguenay, Mauricie, Chibougamau and Kawawachikamach on the North Shore.
They are present en masse at Champlain Regional College St. Lawrence, says the director of the institution, Lawrence Berryman. It should be noted that the clientele of the Anglophone Cégep of Quebec is 75% Francophone.
“If I were an employer looking for bilingual staff, I would make it a point to go to the young people in our high schools who, at this age, are trying to get a grip on their future career. I would go out there and start planting seeds. And most importantly, tell students that they do not have to leave Quebec to make a living and that they can start a family there. ”
“You know, it’s extremely sad to see all these bilingual young people leaving the region – and who will not come back – because we will not have made every effort to retain them.”