NEWCOMER EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM NEP
CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES 2019-2020
and the services we provide 1 and what it means to be prepared 2
INTRODUCTION A brief overview of what NEP stands for
SPOTLIGHT SABBIR Sabbir’s experience coming to Canada
Mentorship Program 3
An overview of Options’ Newcomer
SUCCESS STORIES A collection of short, inspiring client stories with advice on settling in Canada 5 SPOTLIGHT INGRID 4 Ingrid draws from her own experience as a newcomer when mentoring others
An introduction to NEP
NEP stands for the Newcomer Employment Program. Newcomers have access to services which help them adapt their skills and/or knowledge for the Canadian work environment to increase their employability.
One-on-One Employment Counselling
We provide you with one-on-one support tailored for newcomer job- seekers. You will be provided pre- employment skills and resources as well as skills-building and volunteer opportunities in order to build confidence and knowledge.
This program will help newcomers gain the ability to review their career options and identify suitable career choices. We will help you tap into hidden job markets and develop a Job Search Plan. You will learn to write a compelling resume and cover letter. You will have access to resources which will help you expand your professional network, volunteer and/or training opportunities.
More services include:
Pathway to Employment
Meet the Employer
Newcomer Job Fairs
Sabbir Hossain On strategies and success as a newcomer to Canada
Born in Bangladesh, Sabbir Hossain is a cosmopolitan professional who had a large background studying abroad before arriving in BC in August, 2019, as a permanent resident. Sabbir notes the uniqueness of coming to a new country as an immigrant, “Your intent is different: as a student, you are focused on studying and maybe getting a job after. When you move as an immigrant, you bring your savings and place your confidence in building a new life.” “When I was an international student, I did not have access to the kinds of services that were available to immigrants.” To be prepared for arrival, Sabbir and his wife Roksana ensured that the search for jobs began long before they landed in Canada. Upon receiving approval for immigration, they started researching
Sabbir and Malou at Stars on the Rise
Sabbir’s success appears to have come about swiftly due to the fact that he put in a lot of preparation beforehand. However, he too has had his fair share of rejections and advises newcomers not to be discouraged. “At one point, my wife and I thought that we would never find work. I had put out fifty applications in a month and a half, with no response... I started applying to jobs outside my field too, before I got a call for an interview.” “You bring your savings and place your confidence in building a new life.” Sabbir was one of the speakers at December’s Stars on the Rise celebration, which was organized by Malou to celebrate the contributions of mentors and the successes of mentees. He echoes some of the advice he gave there to newcomer jobseekers: “Access the resources available, such as WorkBC and listen to advice about Canadian-style job search.” Sabbir suggests, “Don’t wait for the perfect job. Be open to jobs outside your field or even temporary jobs. Sign up for temporary job placement agencies. Even a job for five to seven days can be something to put on your resume as Canadian experience and lets you meet colleagues who can be your local reference. Interim steps can open new opportunities for permanent positions aligned with your original profession.” Sabbir’s story shows how being proactive, community support and opportune timing come together for a smoother transition into Canada.
opportunities and informing themselves. “One resource naturally led to another. From my research, I knew, even before arriving, that I needed three things to find work here: Canadian references, Canadian qualifications and Canadian work experience.” They then signed up at temporary staffing agencies to get initial Canadian work experience and local references. Sabbir also took a short course on project management at Vancouver Community College. “This was noticed at my interview, even though it was just a short course”. Canadian references, qualifications and work experiences sound like substantial barriers, but even starting small helps. A little more than a month after landing, Sabbir and Roksana met Malou Sibbaluca, Employment Relations Coordinator of Options Career Mentorship program at our Job Fair in September 2019. After learning about Sabbir’s background in education, Malou matched him with Ritu Biswas, a mentor who had transitioned from a technical field into education management. After two meetings, an opportunity emerged at the Vancouver Career College, where Ritu works. She forwarded Sabbir’s resume ; Sabbir was interviewed and was offered the job the following week. Sabbir has now been working as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Vancouver Career College for about four months and he is very pleased that he was able to remain in his field. Sabbir hopes to one day become a campus director, which would let him make a bigger positive impact on students’ wellbeing.
“Interim steps can open new opportunities.”
Malou at a Mentorship Event
Career Mentorship provides clients with an ideal match
In the words of Malou Sibbaluca, Options © Employer Relations Coordinator, many more newcomers are “arriving prepared” for job search. Malou oversees the Career Mentorship program, which matches newcomer professionals with a mentor who is established in the same field in Canada, based on interests, needs, and professional background. Thanks to the rise of an increasingly interconnected world and pre-arrival services such as Planning for Canada (previously CIIP) and the Active Engagement & Integration Project (AEIP), many newcomer professionals arrive with a good understanding of job search skills specific to the Canadian market, such as Canadian-style resumes and the importance of networking. “Mentoring helps clients feel there are opportunities.” Many newcomers are highly driven professionals, experienced in their field and proactive in getting integrated in the Canadian job market, notes Malou. “It’s common now for newcomers to reach out to me via LinkedIn, while they are still abroad. The newcomers I meet are eager to know more about industries here and they are aware that it is only through professional connections that they can get the insights they need.”
But beyond bridging newcomers with professional connections - and for some mentees, their mentors are their first such connection in Canada, the Career Mentorship program brings a key ingredient for success: confidence. "Get t ing your foot through the door as an immigrant i s i tsel f an accompl i shment ” “Getting your foot through the door as an immigrant is itself an accomplishment,” says Malou. “I see many highly skilled newcomers who have to return to school, as well as experienced people struggling to hear back from entry level positions. Some are worried about English. When they meet with their mentor and talk with them, they recognize the things they have in common - that they are both fellow professionals. This rebuilds their confidence and strengthens their sense of professional identity.” Malou has heard numerous clients say that mentoring has helped them feel that there are opportunities for them to integrate into the Canadian workforce. She adds, “I believe that helping [newcomers] unleash their potential to the fullest allows them to find success in their careers.”
Ingrid Bos On resilience and experience in the workforce
Ingrid Bos is a mentor who has been volunteering with Options’ Career Mentorship program since 2015. Ingrid is passionate about life coaching and draws values and skills from that sphere to her mentorship. “Career mentorship isn’t about getting you a job. It is about helping you get yourself a job, and a big part of that is asking you the questions that help you become more aware of your values and your sense of self worth. These are all ideas that are central to life coaching, which is about helping people to help themselves move forward.” Recently retired, Ingrid began mentoring when she was a manager at Coast Capital Savings, which is where she was introduced to coaching. Seeing how much value it brought to her team, Ingrid returned to school and undertook more training to be a certified life coach.
Ingrid also asks her mentees to rethink job interviews from ‘I am being interviewed’ to ‘we are interviewing each other’: “Ask yourself, does this organization match up with your values? What questions can I ask at the interview to find out?” Personal aspects such as being able to feed your family, can create a sense of desperation and inferiority, which comes across poorly in interviews. When reminding yourself of your responsibility to choose a job that is a good fit for you, the confidence comes naturally. “As immigrants, we have to work harder, we need to believe in ourselves more.”
It takes confidence to be vulnerable and open. As an immigrant herself, Ingrid understands how this confidence can be difficult to conjure. “Language is a huge thing. When you don’t speak the language well, people get the misconception that you aren’t intelligent. You can end up feeling like you are stupid and can’t fit in. As immigrants, we have to work harder, we need to believe in ourselves more and we have to learn grit.“ Ingrid has two strategies for her mentees to build confidence: work on communication skills and understand that an interview goes both ways. She believes that strong communication and the knowledge that you can get your message across, takes away the fear of being misunderstood or of being new to English. She encourages her mentees to join clubs as it is a fantastic way to grow their networks. “You need a lot of resilience to start fresh in a new country.” Ingrid’s work experience has taught her the importance of vulnerability in the workplace which translates to its importance in the job search process. “Employers hire for the long term because it is expensive to train new staff. We look for skills, but also personality and fit. And the only way for us to figure this out is for the candidate to be completely honest and vulnerable in the interview.” Ingrid advises, “For questions like ‘tell us your weaknesses’, don’t just give template or expected responses like ‘I’m a perfectionist’. Be honest and talk about some areas you want to improve and how you are working on them. A smart employer is looking for self- awareness in candidates.”
To date, six of Ingrid’s mentees have been able to secure work in the financial field. She credits her mentees with their successes: “My mentees have been amazingly motivated, and in some ways you have to be, since you need a lot of resilience to start fresh in a new country. I always learn something new from them and am most impressed by their curiosity. Being curious is an indicator of success because you are open to improvement, new ideas and new ways of seeing things.” Seeing the excitement of a mentee who has received multiple offers and the ‘aha’ moment when a mentee realized that in Canada, employees can interact with bosses on a more equal footing than the work culture of his country, is what drives Ingrid. “I am retired and one of the best legacies anyone can have is helping people move towards their success. Preparing for an interview is one of most important things you can do to build the career you want. Being a mentor lets me take part in this process and help people walk into interviews confident and self-aware.”
Harvinder Singh Harvinder began his journey to Canada with one goal in mind: finding work. With a background in e-learning, he hoped he could continue to use his skills here in Canada, however, like is the case for so many others, that was not in the cards for him. He continues to work towards a career where he can utilize his extensive previously gained skills, but with the help of Options © services, he took a different route. Initially when Harvinder started looking for jobs, he was not receiving the responses he would have hoped for. After working with WorkBC, he was put in contact with Nadine Graham, an Employment Specialist here at Options, who helped him assemble some of the key aspects needed to succeed. They worked together to improve his resume, cover letter, interview skills etc. Slowly, the responses he was receiving improved until he finally landed a job at KPU as a learning centre assistant. Although not quite what he expected, the job generally reflects his field of work back home. By applying for every job he saw that resembled what he had done back home, he landed a position where he could use his skills and can continue to grow in this position - great advice for anyone in his shoes. He is very thankful to Options for the help they provided him in getting a job here in Canada.
Dipti’s unique journey to become employed as an Education Expert with Microsoft started in this country in May 2019. Within two months of landing in Vancouver, BC, she put herself out there and applied for a role with the world’s leading company. Being a Political Science & Social Studies teacher, only in her dreams would she have thought she would be working in the biggest and most renowned IT firm. Before hiring, Dipti ensured four interviews with leadership in Canada as well as the US. During those weeks, anxiety and apprehensions about her recruitment weighed heavy. While she received job offers, Dipti put them on hold until she heard the final word from Microsoft - she got it! What made Dipti stand out in achieving this position at Microsoft was her ability to see things the way an educator does. Her tenure and expertise as well as eagerness to learn, solidified the opportunity to work in the educator space at Microsoft. Dipti is extremely proud and happy with where she is in her life right now and she appreciates the moral support and guidance received from Options. Options’ support empowered her to not feel alone and to perservere.
over the years or things he was capable of. However, he decided not to give up. In the midst of this job search, Makesh got in contact with Options; he recalls, “I still remember the first day when I walked in and how I felt so welcomed.” After being in contact with a member of Options and attending their job fair, he was offered a job by one of the employers! Although he still wasn’t sure this job was everything he was capable of, he took it to meet the needs of his family, he accepted it and was soon promoted. In the coming months, Options kept in touch and didn’t give up on trying to find him a more suitable job - finally, they matched him with a mentor who helped him apply for a position at RBC. After a rigorous hiring process, he got the job! Makesh will always be grateful to Options for their care, concern and guidance through his difficult journey. His advice to those in his shoes is, “What worked for me was a trying and never give up attitude. Explore all the resources available and build up your network to expand your reach.”
Makesh Naidu moved to Canada in April 2019, nervous about how he would establish himself here. Coming from a great profession as a Major in the Army in India, he was worried about starting from scratch. As soon as he was settled into Canada, he started applying for jobs posted on various websites but nothing seemed to make use of the talents he had acquired
OPTIONS COMMUNITY SERVICES
Program Manager: Iris Solorzano: 604.954.0482 firstname.lastname@example.org Employer Relations Coordinator: Malou Sibbaluca: 604.954.0483 email@example.com Employment Specialists: Nadine Graham: 604.954.1090 firstname.lastname@example.org Farzana Attaullah: 604.954.0487 email@example.com
Jay Kim: 604.954.0486 firstname.lastname@example.org
NEP Office 305 - 10362 King George Blvd.
Surrey, BC V3T 2W5 www.options.bc.ca
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