The heart-warming stories of clients who have applied to the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) program in past years – and have now successfully started their careers in the government – continue to make us very happy and proud.
We recently interviewed Jefe Olagunju and Oodithnarain Kallaram who shared how the FIN program helped them reach their employment goals. Jefe and Oodithnarain also have some great tips for others aspiring for a career in the government.
Jefe, your journey in the public sector began at World Skills Employment Centre through the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) program. What were the barriers you faced initially and how did you overcome them?
I believe the greatest barrier for me was lack of information. I had applied to several opportunities before I considered the FIN program, but I was not aware that I needed to answer questions in a specific way (using the STAR technique) and keep working on building my network. By attending the coaching and networking events – organized by World Skills and partner organizations – where I had the opportunity to speak with and listen to government employees and hiring managers, I gained valuable knowledge that helped me in my search.
You were successful in the FIN program and now work as a Program Analyst at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). How did you meet your career goals?
Through the FIN Program I gained more confidence in applying to jobs, answering interview questions – especially the ones I did not prepare for or was not expecting – and making myself visible. With regards to my career goals, I was expecting to start small and grow into my coveted role after some years but within a year, I got an offer to start in my current job. This has been a huge blessing and I am grateful for all the training I received through the FIN program to build my confidence at job fairs and networking events and of course to God who made my dream come true!
What advice do you have for other newcomers seeking opportunities in the government?
Regardless of how frustrating the application process may be, or how loud the silence gets or how painful the rejections feel (I had my fair share of rejection staring me in the face through managers’ eyes or body language and those “unfortunately” emails) or how repetitive the workshops feel, don’t give up! Do the best you can every day and one day God will open a door of opportunity just for you!
Oodithnarain Kallaram, a FIN candidate who currently works as Executive Assistant at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), points out that COVID 19 has been a big barrier for newcomers starting out in the government. “When I started my FIN internship in March last year at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), my onboarding was almost virtual. However, I took the initiative and asked for as much information as I could from my supervisors. I also convinced them to let me go to the office at least once a week to get more familiar with the public service office setting.”
Oodith adds that securing the first casual position in the government can lead to more opportunities. “Today I am on my second contract and I am still looking to secure a term or permanent position at IRCC.”
He is enjoying his time in the public service which he says is a different but “marvelous culture” and even though he still has a long way to go in reaching his employment goals, he feels he is growing professionally every day.
Good luck, Jefe, Oodithnarain and everyone who is looking for opportunities in the Public Sector. We wish you success in your career.