This summer, when Trade Facilitation Office Canada (TFO Canada) needed to quickly hire experienced project managers with expertise in international trade and development in developing countries for newly-funded programs, it found them at World Skills Employment Centre. In fact, they found two! And both in record time.
TFO Canada and World Skills are natural partners. TFO Canada needs staff with international experience, and World Skills is Ottawa’s premier source of internationally educated and experienced talent. “Working with World Skills is a real win-win,” says TFO Canada Executive Director Steve Tipman in true trade negotiator fashion. “We have benefitted greatly from their services and their clients, we are very happy to be able to offer challenging and rewarding career-oriented work these individuals.”
Founded in 1980, TFO Canada is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that fights global poverty by facilitating sustainable trade partnerships between exporters in developing countries and Canadian and other foreign buyers. It provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries with Canadian market information and advice, and contacts.
World Skills is a 20-year-old registered charity that helps skilled immigrants find work in or related to their field, at levels commensurate with their qualifications. It offers training on how to find work, advice on applying for specific jobs, networking opportunities with local employers. For employers, it is a high quality free-of-charge staffing service.
While an obvious talent source for international organizations, Steve recommends World Skills’ staffing services to all organizations, private, public or non-profit. “You have nothing to lose – the service is free — and potentially a great deal to gain”. Steve also likes working with World Skills because, “they are fast, efficient and straight shooters. They really know and care about their clients and only refer well-qualified candidates. They don’t hype and oversell; what you see on paper is what you get, and usually a great deal more.”
Marta Recinos started work as the Project Manager for Asia and the Middle East, a scant six weeks after being referred to TFO Canada as a candidate. She is responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of trade-related technical assistance and capacity building projects and activities within this region.
Fluent in Spanish and English, Marta holds a Master Degree in International Commerce and a Bachelor Degree in International Relations. Before emigrating in 2016, Marta had 10 years’ experience in international trade and development in El Salvador. The first five were with the public service as a Competitive Intelligence Analyst and a Market Information Advisor, and the last five as a trade and investment specialist with USAID’s SME Development Program.
Karishma Zaman, who also came to Canada in February 2016, started eight months later as a Project Manager in TFO Canada’s Program Development and Partnerships division. She plans and implements TFO Canada’s trade development programs/projects, and manages strategic and business development activities with partners, donors and trade support institutions (business/exporters associations, chambers of commerce, Canada-based trade representatives of developing countries, etc.).
Karishma, who holds a Master’s of Science in Public Management and Governance and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, was for the four years prior to emigrating, a Program Manager for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) overseeing a GBP 100 million portfolio of asset transfer and technical assistance projects in Bangladesh. Before this, she developed and managed bilateral and multilateral donor-funded development projects in South Asia for Christian Aid UK, and worked as a project manager with UN organizations, the World Bank, the European Union, and various NGOs.
This was not the first time TFO Canada has benefitted from World Skills services. In fact, the Director responsible for the newly-funded programs – Zaki Munshi — was once a World Skills client! Zaki is, in effect, an ultimate World Skills success story, going from job seeker, to employment in his field, and advancing professionally to become a hiring manager.
TFO Canada hired Zaki in March 2014, as its Project Manager, Asia and Middle East. This March, he became Director, Program Development & Partnerships. Working closely with trade specialists and project management staff, including Karishma, he oversees TFO Canada’s program planning, implementation and ongoing communications with donors/partners. He also works with Steve in developing/managing strategic partnerships and new project/program development opportunities.
A Project Management Professional (PMP), Zaki holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Finance. Prior to immigrating to Canada, he managed projects in corporate governance, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) banking, financial infrastructure and micro-finance for the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) in South Asia and Pacific Islands
To quote Joni Mitchell, Zaki has “looked at life from both sides now”. “Our experience with World Skills’ services (personally as a World Skills alumni and as a hiring manager at TFO Canada) has been very positive — and I will be happy to serve as a guest speaker whenever I am able,” he added when asked to participate in a World Skills’ employer event.
Learn more about TFO Canada
Author: Andy Rapoch, Employer Outreach Coordinator for the Non Profit Employer Engagement Project, World Skills Employment Centre.
This project is funded by Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and is part of the Ontario Bridge Training Program for Internationally Trained Individuals and is designed to strengthen the capacity of 50 non profit organizations (small, medium and large) in the Ottawa region to enhance their ability to recruit, hire, onboard and retain internationally educated individuals. The project aims to support up to 100 internationally trained to employment commensurate with their skills and experience.
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