On-Site Magazine

Helmets to Hardhats connecting Afghan refugees to trades

By Adam Freill   

Construction Labour

With support from Aman Lara and building trades unions, the Canadian not-for-profit is helping refugees find careers in the skilled trades.

As the Government of Canada works to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees by the end of 2023, Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) is collaborating with Aman Lara and local building trades unions across Canada to provide recently resettled Afghan nationals with opportunities in the skilled trades.

The national non-profit organization that typically dedicates itself to supporting transitioning military members, veterans, cadets, reservists and military family members into opportunities in the skilled trades, says that many Canadian newcomers also find it difficult to find and secure well-paying, meaningful employment in their resettlement journey.

As such, Helmets to Hardhats has expanded its program eligibility to include resettled Afghan nationals. The organization is helping ease the transition into Canadian society with career and apprenticeship opportunities in the unionized construction industry with the aim of facilitating a successful transition into Canadian life by providing financial stability, training opportunities, and access to health benefits and pension plans.

“I am pleased to see that the collaborative efforts of H2H are leading to Afghans registering with H2H and entering the workforce within weeks,” stated Joe Maloney, founder and executive director of Helmets to Hardhats Canada. “Helmets to Hardhats is proud to refer resettled Afghan refugees to employment opportunities within the skilled trades across Canada.”


Helmets to Hardhats works directly with Canada’s 14 Building Trades Unions to find clients careers in over 60 different trades and occupations. Aman Lara, a non-profit organization that evacuates vulnerable people from nations in crises, is also supporting Helmets to Hardhats in their efforts to assist Afghan refugees.

“We are committed to opening opportunities in the skilled trades to equity-deserving groups, including new Canadians, and are working to ensure the construction industry strives to be more inclusive and breakdown barriers to entry to grow our skilled trades workforce while addressing labour availability across the industry,” stated Sean Strickland, executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions.

“This project contributes to the growth and diversification of Canada’s skilled workforce and supports our clients in establishing themselves in their new home,” added Jon Feltham, program director with Aman Lara. “We are committed to this initiative and believe that it will have a positive impact on our clients’ resettlement journey.”




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