Showing posts with label Bow Valley College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bow Valley College. Show all posts

Mentors help immigrants find success in Canada

bow valley collegeImage by Dave McLean (aka damclean) via Flickr
Many immigrants come to Canada with years of work experience, talent and new ideas, but often run into language barriers and challenges adjusting to the local culture.
Frustrated and desperate to feed their families, many new Canadians end up taking minimum-wage jobs far from where their expertise lies.
It’s a situation that Ratna Omidvar sees everyday in her line of work.
That’s where mentoring programs can help, said Omidvar, president of Maytree, a Toronto-based private organization that invests resources to reduce poverty.
“Skilled immigrants bring talent, connections to world markets and new ways of thinking to solve problems,” she said at the Sheraton Suites in Eau Claire, where the 2011 ALLIES Mentoring Conference is taking place. “We need to collapse the time for them to succeed.”
Omidvar credited a mentor for helping her find her career path when she first arrived to Canada from Iran nearly 30 years ago.
Her mentor took the time to organize mock interviews, work with Omidvar on resume-writing skills, and even taught her about the “unwritten rules” of Canadian workplace culture.
The experience inspired Omidvar to take on many mentees throughout the years, many who have found success in Canada.
More than 120 delegates from across the country are in Calgary today and Friday to discuss how mentoring between employers and skilled immigrants can benefit workplaces and also help newcomers realize their full potential.
A local partnership between the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) and Bow Valley College pairs mentors in the city’s corporate world with immigrants new to Canada.
Katalina Bardell, a mentoring project lead and employment facilitator for the program, said the partnership has facilitated over 100 matches.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi lauded the program and many others that are sprouting up across the country, but he said more needs to be done to help put new immigrants in jobs that best suit their abilities.
“We need to ensure everyone who comes to this country has the ability of achieving his or her own potential,” he said.
Immigration policy changes also need to be made to better recognize foreign credentials, he added.
cho@calgaryherald.com


Read more:http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/Mentors+help+immigrants+find+success+Canada/4734166/story.html#ixzz1LXpMUvHr

Project helps immigrants connect with workforce

TD Canada Trust Tower, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaImage via Wikipedia

Mentorship offers both learning and networking

There's an old saying in business that often it's not what you know but who you know when it comes to landing a job.
Era Wegad can attest to that.
Wegad, who came to Canada from India a couple of years ago, was able to secure a position in early September as a group sales representative for Equitable Life Insurance thanks to networking and connections her mentor, Mandy Lelke of TD Insurance, had in the community.
Wegad was one of 34 skilled immigrants who have completed a pilot project in the city through the Calgary Region Immigration Employment Council, which connected them with mentors in their fields to improve their chances for employment.
"It did help me in getting my self-confidence and self-esteem better because I saw people in the program believing in me. I thought, 'They believe in me, so I should believe in myself,' " said Wegad, who worked in the life insurance industry in India. "They helped me boost my confidence for sure and (gave) me direction.
"Mandy helped me as to the insurance licence I could get if I needed it. Also, networking and connecting me with the right people."
Job hunting can be hard enough when you know people, but when you're lacking local connections of any kind, it can be far more difficult.
Of 34 successful mentormentee relationships in the council's pilot project, seven mentees have so far secured local employment in their respective fields, with a number of others currently undergoing job interviews.
The employment council's 16-week Mentoring Collaborative is designed to provide skilled immigrants with the tools to secure meaningful employment in their fields, from engineering, engineering services, human resources, IT and project management to sales, accounting and auditing.
Community partner organizations included Bow Valley College, Immigrant Services Calgary, the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association and the Centre for Newcomers -- all of which recruit job-ready skilled immigrants as mentees. Local employers such as Flint Energy, TransCanada Corp., Canadian Pacific Railway, Calgary Airport Authority, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank of Canada and SMART Technologies recruited appropriate employees as mentors.
"Our purpose is to help local leaders with immigrant employment strategies. The mentoring program is just one of our initiatives," said Marie-France Varin, the council's project leader.
"The reason we went with piloting that first was because there was such a success in Toronto with that similar program."
She said the pilot program will continue.
"We connect skilled immigrants with their Canadian counterpart in an occupation-specific mentoring relationship," she said.
"The main purpose of that relationship is to help these individuals understand their profession within a Canadian context.
"It's also for them to acquire effective job search strategies that are aligned with Canadian standards, and for them to get a better understanding of how to showcase their skills and their talents in their resume and (make sure) the resume does follow Canadian standards."
Also, with many professionals, it's helping them get their professional accreditation in their chosen fields.
"Often it's not what you know, but who you know. And what this program does is it truly connects them with their colleagues in their profession."
Lelke, who mentored Wegad for the 16 weeks beginning in June, said the pilot project connects people from professions in other countries to professionals here.
"It's a good strong match so that they're not just applying for something that is just kind of coming their way and then they're just really not satisfied," said Lelke.
"It's nice to be able to integrate people into the society into what their profession is without them having to go through again the challenges of finding employment just to find employment without something that directly relates to what they've done in the past."
A celebration of the program is being held on Thursday with mentors, mentees and partner organizations coming together.
mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com
 
 



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