The County and area partners were approved for Rural Economic Development funding through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in the amount of $58,875 to execute a multi-faceted workforce attraction and retention program. One component of the program was awareness building and marketing, which included the creation and promotion of a video campaign. The video showcases and celebrates newcomer success stories with a focus on international student graduates living and working in the region in key sectors outlined in our 2021-2025 Economic Development Strategy. These sectors include manufacturing, engineering, entrepreneurship, tourism, and agriculture. The purpose of the video is to showcase the benefits of the growing diversity of Simcoe County, attract workforce to the area and promote the region’s natural beauty and year-round recreation opportunities. The video leverages the County’s Made in Simcoe County and Work in Simcoe County brands, linking directly to thousands of local careers on the Work in Simcoe jobsite.
A multi-platform campaign was launched in December 2022 until January 31, 2023, to promote the video across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok. The sponsored campaign generated over 1.7 million impressions, leading to a significant increase in traffic on our local jobsite. In addition to the main video, shorter versions were created for social media. Based on its success, a second online campaign was launched in Spring 2023 and the video continues to be promoted through organic channels such as social media and events. The video is being used as an attraction tool through partner organizations such as the Newcomer Centre of Peel and the international student recruiting teams at Georgian College and Lakehead University.
Challenges & Changes Made
Based on previous video projects, we built in ample time to find interviewees to participate; working with partners was an integral part of this process. We worked with local post-secondary institutions, companies, and stakeholders such as the Local Immigration Partnership to identify and interview nine newcomers from seven different countries that live in Simcoe County and work within key sectors. Once the video was complete, subtitles were added in several languages to expand viewership. The six languages that were chosen for translation were based on three factors: international student enrollment at our post-secondary institutions; website traffic by Country to our website; and languages spoken within the County.
The primary target audience was newcomers in the Greater Toronto Area. Additionally, Georgian College and Lakehead University are using this video in presentations, tradeshows, and social media advertising for international student recruitment with a strong focus on the Indian and Brazilian markets. The secondary market is local as its celebrating local successes. For example, it was used as a key asset throughout the 2023 Week of Welcome, which included events focused on helping local immigrants learn more about services available in our communities.
The below quote underscores that diversity enriches our lives and communities, which contributes to sustainable positive changes.
“Simcoe embraces a lot of people from different cultures. It’s very diverse. You’ll find people that speak different languages in the stores and in community centres. And the most beautiful thing about having people from so many different nationalities is the fact that more and more we are becoming more cultured, and we are becoming better human beings as a result. I would encourage anybody who wants to come to Simcoe – you’re going to love it.”