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Students! Launch your career in Canada

Silver Dhuka (on the March cover of CanadaBound Immigrant) and Nish Verma made a successful transition to working and living in Canada through education

It is about providing very specific, employment-ready skills and certifications to help launch or re-launch your career,” says Kim Loeb, Associate Dean of the University of Winnipeg’s Professional, Applied, and Continuing Education Division (PACE).

Loeb says that international students often think of PGD programs as stepping stones to Masters programs, but “they really are not intended, as such.” She explains, “Professional PGD programs are designed to develop high-demand skill sets, enhance existing work experience and fast-track careers in high growth sectors within the North American labour market.”

Since the late 1990s, the University of Winnipeg has offered a variety of diploma and post-graduate diploma programs, targeted primarily towards Canadian students. Canadians students understand the competitive advantage of investing in a short educational leave in order to realize higher earning potential, in some cases as much as 25 per cent, based on a recognized professional certification and the right educational credential. In the last few years, international students at the University of Winnipeg have been benefiting from the same programs.

Work experience is considered an important asset in the admission process and students with significant work experience in their home country tend to have better prospects for employment in Canada after graduation from their PGD program.

Eugenio Fernandes, originally from Goa, used his managerial experience at General Mills in southern India to his advantage in landing a job with one of Manitoba top employers, MTS All-stream, a telecommunication company. “Work at MTS Allstream is very challenging and project management work is so different than a regular managerial role. There is just so much to learn,” he says.

“When I came from India one year ago, I never anticipated landing a job in only three months of graduating and in such a high salary bracket.”

Fernandes, 28, is not a unique case in a graduating class where 50 per cent of the students were international students from India with no previous Canadian work experience.

Two of Eugenio’s classmates were hired by large engineering companies, two by large financial institutions, and one by a large retail business, while Eugenio and one of his classmates were hired by MTS Allstream. 

Salaries scales for this group ranged from $45,000 to $61,000. Their work experience in India was considered an asset by the Canadian companies that hired them.

Associate Dean Loeb made her first trip to India in the spring of 2011 and has made four trips since, travelling from Chennai to Chandigarh, Ahmedabad to Hyderabad, and Delhi to Kochi, visiting several of those cities on multiple occasions.

“We think it is really important to be present in the countries where we promote our programs. At the end of the day, I or one of my colleagues will have personally met almost of all of the students who join our programs before they leave their home country. This helps ensure that the students are a good fit for the programs and that their expectations about the programs and about their employment prospects in Canada are realistic and achievable.”

Other former students benefited directly from the integrated work practicum that is an integral part of the programs.

Nish Verma, a Bachelor of Computer Science graduate from the University of Pune and a graduate of the Human Resource Management program in 2005, credits the work practicum aspect of his University of Winnipeg program with helping to make the adjustment from India to Canada.

“It provides students with real-world business experience,” he explains. “It helps foreign-trained professionals better navigate the Canadian business environment and gain the essential skills for career success in Canada.” Last year, Verma was appointed VP Human Resources for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

The University of Winnipeg’s PACE division currently offers three business programs (Human Resource Management, Project Management, and Marketing and Public Relations) and two information technology programs (Network Security, and Internet Systems). Programs run full-time, vary from 12 and 15 months, and have international student tuition between $16,000 and $19,000.

Silveruddin Dhuka is another example of a student who has made a successful transition to Canada through education, in his case when he entered the Internet Systems Specialist program at age 27 in 2011. Dhuka, originally from the Mumbai region, who works as a Web Software Developer in Winnipeg, says, “I have had good experiences in Winnipeg since I started my program. Nowadays, I feel that I live in my home town.”

– Jason Brennan

• To find out more about studying in Canada, visit Canadian University Application Centre’s website at www.canada123.org.

Posted: Mar 3, 2013

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