New program teaching newcomer women to sew and work


Immigrating to Canada comes with many challenges and finding work can be one of the hardest, but a new program in Winnipeg is hoping to help recent immigrants find employment.

The Cutting Edge is a new program for newcomer women to launch their careers as sewing machine operators and gain work experience.

“This program is about accompanying immigrant women in their search for establishing themselves in Canada,” said Anne-Lydie Bolay, operations director at The Cutting Edge.

Women in the program learn to create sewn goods, which are then sold by The Cutting Edge.

“They are learning to do different types of seams. They are learning to do upholstery. They are learning knit products and they are learning to communicate in English to their supervisors,” said Bolay.

The goods range from things like drawstring backpacks and makeup bags to items like cloth napkins or headbands.

Ruigin Zhanz, who is sewing in the program, is thankful for the opportunity.

“It give me the chance to [learn] how to sew. With this program, I can get a job,” she said.

To get the program up and running, The Cutting Edge received grant money.

“What The Cutting Edge needs is to create revenue above and beyond any grants they receive. So we are going to buy 25K worth of beautiful goods from them,” said Tyler Pearce, operations director at LITE (Local Investment Toward Employment).

“We have also given them a $5,000 grant for product development and marketing so they can thrive.”

As for Bolay at The Cutting Edge, she said watching the program grow is inspiring to see.

“Every day, I see women who are overcoming their own challenges, who are determined, that are tenacious, and that’s pretty cool to see.”

The Cutting Edge said it predicts 250 graduates of the program will be working in the local manufacturing industry by 2028.

-With files from CTV’s Jamie Dowsett

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