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75 per cent of newcomers find employment after participating in mentoring programs


Many newcomers to Canada are highly-skilled professionals with many years of experience in their fields. 

Yet, they can sometimes struggle to find meaningful employment. 

Sometimes their lack of Canadian experience comes in the way; at others, it’s a lack of soft skills and the right communication tools. 

In such situations, mentors can provide invaluable help. 

TRIEC Mentoring Partnership has found mentors for over 15,000 new immigrants since 2004, and helped newcomers build professional networks. 

Mentors provide guidance on how the local job market works and 75 per cent of newcomers find employment after taking part in these programs. 

Mentoring is a symbiotic relationship, also helping mentors learn leadership and crosscultural communication skills. 

A few mentors shared their journey with TRIEC. 


Alena Miatlushka

“My purpose is to help you achieve your goal,” says Alena Miatlushka. 

Originally from Belarus, Alena settled in Canada in June 2015 after working in HR in the Middle East for 13 years. 

She signed up for TRIEC Mentoring Partnership through COSTI shortly afterwards.

 How mentoring helped Alena when she immigrated to Canada: “I was given useful advice and I was motivated by it. I think the biggest thing for me was the fact that it enlarged my network. That then led me to the person who passed forward my resumé to the right person in the selection process of a position I had applied for. 

“Another important piece of advice was given to me when I was at the stage of thinking about applying for less senior positions than those I had been working in in the past. I was told to never do that if you are financially stable – take the time and find the right seat for you.”

Why Alena decided to start mentoring: “I started to mentor with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership after I was encouraged to do so by a colleague I had previously mentored in the work place. Being a part of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership means I am able help a larger number of people by mentoring them.”

What being a mentor means to Alena: “Before I worked in my current profession, I was a professional athlete. From this I gained valuable coaching experience which I have developed and managed to bring to my HR career. Coaching and mentoring others is also part of my HR Manager role. In my case it then became part of my nature and I love seeing people succeed.”

The benefits of mentoring: “In my previous employment mentoring helped me grow in my HR role. Mentoring was one of the competencies expected of leaders, so I wanted to continue to develop this skill. It’s very difficult for skilled professional newcomers to find their place in the Canadian workforce. There is a lot of uncertainty, you don’t know where to go and what do, and TRIEC Mentoring Partnership really helps those in that position. Both people in the partnership can benefit from the process. Professionals can develop themselves and not only will it really help the newcomers but also the companies that can have quick access to internationally-trained and experienced professionals.”

 Advice for new mentees: “Know exactly what you would like to achieve from the partnership, ask lots of questions and drive the process.”

 Alena’s tips for new mentors: “Have a passion for mentoring and desire to help. Listen to the mentee and understand exactly what they want to achieve.”


Emad Bishara

“I like to help people, it’s a big reward to see them succeed in what they want to achieve,” says Emad Bishara. 

 For the first time, in 2018, TRIEC recognized people who have mentored 20 or more recent immigrants to help them progress in their careers. 

Emad Bishara, a building engineer at the City of Toronto, was one of the mentors being celebrated for this outstanding achievement. 

Emad has worked as a civil engineer in different capacities across the globe. 

Since joining TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a mentor in 2007, he has mentored 20 newcomer professionals.

Why Emad started mentoring: “When I came to Canada, it was difficult to find work in my profession at the time. It was also difficult to get guidance on how to find employment. I would have liked to have had someone to help me navigate the labour market with some of their experience. 

“After having successfully integrated myself in the Canadian workforce, I decided that I wanted to help make other newcomers’ paths smoother and easier, smoother than mine had been. I thought if I had the opportunity to mentor, I could help my mentees avoid going through what I went through.”

Why other professionals should start mentoring: “I believe mentoring is needed in all professions – newcomers often do not know what’s required to succeed in the Canadian workforce. It can be helpful for them to learn about the rules and regulations of their profession and how to introduce themselves and become members of their respective professional associations. Mentors help make it an easier transition for them.”

What Emad has learned from mentoring 20 times: “Over time, I have learned to be a better listener, how to get the mentee engaged, set clear and attainable expectations, and become more informed, keeping an open door. The more people I mentor, the faster I can meet the needs of the mentee.”

How being a mentor has helped him: “Through being a mentor, I have seen how resilient newcomers are, as well as how this country has evolved. I’ve improved my social, communication and personal skills, developed leadership and management qualities, increased my confidence and motivation, learned about ways of doing business in different countries and cultures – you learn from the mentees about how they do things where they are from. I have become a more well-rounded person by being a mentor.”

Emad’s mentoring highlights: “I mentored one person who didn’t take no for an answer. He started out as a volunteer and went on to other positions. Guidance and persistence paid off, and he now holds a very senior role at his place of employment.”

Emad’s top tips for new mentors: “Be patient and accommodating.

“Be understanding of any difficulties your mentee might be going through. Take the initiative. 

“Be clear about purpose and boundaries. 

“Create an agenda for each meeting with your mentee.” 

More info at www.triec.ca

– REBECCA ADAMS

Posted: Apr 1, 2018

April 2018





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