A Winnipeg-based program which helps teach newcomers English is now giving participants the chance to gain hands-on work experience.

For the first time, students in Altered Minds Inc.'s Living English program will concentrate on English four days a week and attend a workplace for the fifth. The placements are broken up into four categories: sewing, gardening and farming, leather work, and food preparation.

“Now we’re focusing more on an employment area so that we could help them get used to workplace culture, interact with local employers and then have an opportunity in the future to update their resume and potentially get a job faster,” said Trevor Pfahl of Altered Minds Inc.

The program worked with eight employer partners who helped facilitate the placements.

It is funded by Manitoba’s Refugee Employment Development Initiative.