On July 21, The Ottawa Job Match Network (OJMN) held its Employer Engagement Event and Targeted Recruitment Event. This event brings together employers and internationally trained individuals who have been a part of the program, to learn more about each other. Employers get to present their companies and their perspectives on employment in Ottawa and their own hiring/recruitment process. Through those events, some of our newcomer professionals get their first break in the job market and are able to meet an employer for a frank discussion about their employment prospects in Ottawa.
During this last event, several employer partners joined us and we are grateful to Camille Poirier, Branch Manger at RBC and Ruba Mara; Samah Melki, Branch Manager from Alterna Bank and Aderemi Aderinwale; Grace Sheng from World Skills Employment Center; George Chin from the Ministry of the Attorney General; Ahmed Shalabi, Phd, P.Eng, Professional Engineer; Jason Mc Naught Director of Marketing, IMI, and Manav Sachdeva and Ahn Tram Do, Interns at IMI; Taran Britto and Hitzel Cruz from Kershet Technologies Inc.
One of the three newcomers who spoke at the event was Sarra Ismail who found employment in her field three months after taking the workshop! Sarra is from Sudan and arrived in Canada in February 2017. She has a BSc Counselling Psychology, from the Ahfad University, Sudan and a MSc HR Management from the University of Manchester, UK. Prior to coming to Canada, Sarra worked for 6 years in the non-profit sector in Sudan in field jobs and programme management and later on in Training and Organisation Development in Sudan and Qatar.
Before joining the Ottawa Job Match Network (OJMN), Sarra was unemployed. When asked how the program helped her to overcomer barriers and find employment at a level commensurate with her skills and experience, here is Sarra’s response:
“This program was life-transforming. I am so glad that I didn’t spend too much time job-hunting in Canada before I found World Skills! I came to Canada in February 2017, registered with World Skills in April, and joined the OJMN in May 2017. Before I joined World Skills, I thought I would just have to rely on online job adverts and LinkedIn to find work in Canada. I knew that networking was important but I did not know where to start networking in a country that I just moved to. The OJMN program showed me right up front that just staying at home and applying for jobs online would never get me work – that I had to get myself out there. Through the program, I also learnt how to put myself out there and start building my new network in Canada.
Every day I was at the program I met someone new and my network expanded. Through this network, I started to go to different events and learnt more about what is happening around Ottawa. I am extroverted and sociable, but even I found the idea of walking up to strangers to just introduce myself a daunting task At one of the workshops we had to learn how to do that and were even sent to attend a job fair. Through World Skills, I have had the chance to develop and practice many skills.
Shaye, my Job Match Specialist, coached me one-on-one in preparation for a job interview. I also participated in the resume’ clinic where I had an expert look over my resume` and edit it. Through World Skills and one of their ex-clients Ranjith Matthews who currently works at Willis College, I heard about the ITP Mentorship program run by Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre (PQCHC). I applied and got into the program.
The most important thing I got out of OJMN was the confidence that I am a competent and well-qualified professional and just because I am a newcomer to Canada, does not mean that I cannot find a job in my profession doing what I love. It gave me hope and inspired me to dare to believe that my first job in Canada could actually be a job I liked – not just a boring admin job like I thought I would be forced to start with.
World Skills sends their clients many jobs and I did apply for a few of them although nothing came out of that. When I saw the job advertisement for my current job, I sent a copy of my resume and cover letter to Shaye to review. I took her feedback and edited my application to match the job. After I applied, Shaye forwarded my application to Magdalene who then sent an endorsement to the hiring manager. Within a couple of hours after that email, the hiring manager had called me and arranged an interview. She told me that if I come endorsed from World Skills, then I sound like a good candidate. I was invited to two interviews and a focus group and was even asked to submit a work assignment. In each step, Shaye was there to listen to me and advise me on the best way to do things and to give me a confidence boost.
At the end, I got the job! A job that meets nearly everything I would have wanted as my first job in Canada: a small non-profit organisation, friendly environment, focused on learning and development and where I can use my people skills and my organisation skills and with a good pay.”
Sarra is now working at In-Tac as a Training Coordinator.
Here are a few photos to enjoy and you can also access the gallery of photos at this link.
Look out for more blogs to showcase the impact which employers in Ottawa are making on the lives of newcomers and to also learn more about our newcomers.
Next Employer Engagement Event is on September 22. Want to join? Please connect with me at Magdalene@ottawa-worldskills.org
Our 20th Anniversary Event is on October 19, 2017! Join us for an exiting evening!