January is Mentorship Month, and at Windmill, one of the promising new initiatives we launched in 2019 was our new Mentorship Program. It’s designed to help new Windmill clients by connecting them with past clients and other professionals who can help them navigate the Canadian labour market.
Created in response to feedback from clients and alumni, the mentorship program benefits greatly from the amazing volunteers at Intact Insurance, Dialogue Design, and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) who have donated their time to working with skilled immigrants in their communities.
Andrew, a lawyer from Zambia who immigrated to Toronto, was one of our first clients matched with a mentor from Intact, a volunteer named Victor. Andrew shared valuable feedback about his experience as a mentee:
“Victor has been a fantastic coach and has helped me with my cover letters, resumes, professional network and interviews. Because of his help… I now have two four-month placements in two separate business law firms. Both of my placements are in my desired area of law, which is something very difficult to get… This program has already been extremely beneficial. I have already recommended it to others.”
We look forward to recruiting more mentors and connecting them with mentees in 2020.
Beyond our mentorship program, 2019 was an exciting year for Windmill. We planted the Windmill flag in two new provinces, British Columbia and Quebec, increased our loan cap by 50%, and launched several new initiatives to help clients build their employability and financial literacy skills.
With your support, we were able to grow our new loans by 31%, issuing 982 new loans in 2019. Through improved risk management and client supports, we increased our repayment rate from 97% to 98% and—most importantly– showed a 3.4X increase in income for our average client. We couldn’t have done any of this without you.
A heartfelt thank you to all our supporters from 2019 and here’s to another great year helping new Canadians put their skills to work in 2020!
Claudia Hepburn, CEO