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Finding a Canadian job that matches your skills


Internationally-trained immigrants find jobs through many innovative programs such as the Mentoring Partnership and Ontario Bridge Training.

The Mentoring Partnership matches internationally trained newcomers with established Canadians in occupations-specific partnerships to learn about the Canadian job market. Partnerships run 24 hours over four months with 75 per cent of mentees reporting finding work in their professional field within 12 months of completing the program.

In 2012, Andrew Bakos signed up with The Mentoring Partnership to become a mentor in the engineering field.

Since then, he has mentored many internationally-trained engineering professionals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Having recently completed his 10th partnership, Andrew reflects on his exciting journey and learning experience.

“I began mentoring with The Mentoring Partnership program about five years ago. In my previous job, my boss at that time approached me about becoming a mentor in the program, mentioning that it would be a good fit with my skills and abilities. I have always been keen on giving back to the community through volunteering, so I was immediately onboard with joining this program.

“I have been fortunate to meet some very interesting people from different cultural backgrounds through this program. I remember one of my mentees, in particular, who was very diligent. Even after our partnership ended, he stayed in touch through phone calls and lunch meetings, and finally, he was able to get a job in a related field. Like him, each of the people I have mentored has had their own unique story to share. Their stories and experiences have inspired me to continue mentoring, even after I left my previous job and began working at my current job.

“Mentoring has also helped me in my own learning experience. I have been able to meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and listen to their stories. Being an engineer, I have been able to learn about the engineering practices in other countries through my mentees. I now have a better understanding of people from different cultural backgrounds, and how to better communicate with them. The resources provided by The Mentoring Partnership through their website have also been very useful for me in becoming a better mentor. I have also used the “work safe, home safe” guide, available at my work, to guide my mentees on how they can become a good fit in the Canadian workplace.

“My experience with mentoring has taught me that the professionals who come to Canada from other countries already have great technical skills. What they need is help in building their soft skills and guidance in understanding the Canadian work culture. I would advise fellow mentors to be patient, because it does take time and effort, but the benefits make it really worthwhile. Mentors should also show respect and dignity to their mentees, since they are experienced professionals themselves, and this will lead to an enriching experience for both parties.

Zoser Mankarious says it’s important to remember how you were feeling at that stage.

Zoser was at the forefront of launching Egypt’s first online banking system for Citibank, and he’s worked at several other top financial institutions.

But when political instability struck the country in 2011, he moved his family to Canada. He found support from employment service providers, including ACCES Employment, that gave him the Canadian experience and tools he needed to successfully reconnect with his profession. Now, he’s is ready to pay it forward and help other immigrants going through the same transition.

Here are his thoughts on mentoring a newcomer professional.

Why Zoser became a mentor: “I had a lot of friends coming to Canada from the middle east, especially from the IT field, so I shared what I learned about the main obstacles they may face and what companies are looking for. It was a good chance to share my experience, and I thought ,‘Why don’t I do it through The Mentoring Partnership?’”

Zoser’s insights into Canadian employment culture: “Professionally, IT work is the same everywhere but knowing the right attitude that is valued makes a big difference. As a newcomer, you can have concerns about continuing your career in a new place  and you have to be flexible, because this is a change. Giving newcomers those ‘small hands’ can mean the difference between them just getting a job and being a superstar.”

Tips for fellow mentors of newcomers: “The program is all about sharing experiences. When you are mentoring a newcomer it’s important to understand their situation and remember how you were feeling at that stage. They are usually frustrated because they are looking for jobs on big general websites and not getting anywhere, because no one has told them yet about how and where to job search effectively. Also, lots of people find their value in what they do and from being able to support their family. But you shouldn’t feel like your value has decreased because you are looking for a job. As a mentor, you have to give your mentee the confidence that their value is still there and that they will be able to succeed.”

How he’s benefited from mentoring newcomers: “Speaking to people from different backgrounds is always helpful. Even though I consider myself well-settled it is still eye opening to listen to other people’s experiences – it gives you more insight and reminds you that Canada is a dynamic place where things are always changing.”

What he’s found most rewarding about being a mentor: “You work with your mentee on their application and being prepared for the interview. It’s amazing when they tell me they’ve got an offer for a good job. It’s a major milestone in their life in Canada. I believe everybody has a good chance here.”

To see a full list of partners across the GTA or to sign-up as a mentor, visit thementoringpartnership.com.

Posted: May 30, 2017

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