New immigrants to Canada can count on a number of programs to help them to find their first job here. “Immigrants alone do not have all the tools to market themselves. The requirements are different even according to the sector or the employer,” says Irene Sihvonen, director of Services of Acces Employment Services.
The first step for the newcomer is to look for the nearest employment resource centre. These agencies provide a shortcut to understand the local job market, to validate foreign credentials and experience, to learn how to show your skills properly and to find and connect successfully to employers. There you will find training programs, resources, information, contacts in the community and people who can help in your job search.
Job search workshops
Among the most popular programs offered, job search workshops teach effective job search practices and techniques to immigrants. Newcomers obtain orientation about the Canadian labour market. You can learn how to assess your own skills, how to write effective résumés and cover letters, how to fill out employment application forms, and how to network with employers. You will also learn successful interview techniques and workers’ rights and employment standards. After the workshop, participants can count on support, job leads, free access to computers, internet, printers, telephones, faxes, photocopiers, networking and childcare.
Programs are offered to landed immigrants, convention refugees and live-in caregivers with intermediate level of English. To find the nearest job search workshop, visit www.jswontario.org or call 1-800-813-2614.
Skills for Change is just one of the many agencies offering job search workshops. More information can be obtained by calling (416) 658-3101 ext. 234 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windsor Employment Resource Centre offers assistance in Windsor. They can be reach at 400 City Hall Square East. Their phone number is (519) 253-4544 and their website www.citywindsor.ca/000581.asp
Job finding clubs
Job finding clubs are free, intensive and interactive job search seminars. Using motivational, goal-oriented and hands-on workshops, professional advisors help newcomers to find meaningful jobs faster and to develop effective self-marketing and employment search skills.
The clubs ensure that members dedicate at least six hours daily to their work search. Among the workshop topics are personal skills assessment, résumés, calling cards, networking techniques, reaching the hidden job market, telephone techniques for cold calls, interview preparation, finding employers who are hiring on-line, posting résumés on-line and using email. Some job clubs are available at:
Lawrence Square Job Finding Club (phone (416) 789-2731, e-mail email@example.com)
vpi Ottawa Fast Track – Job Finding Club is located at 151 Slater St. # 800 in Ottawa. Their phone number is (613) 232-2300.
Resource Centres are not exactly programs, but powerful tools for job seekers. They usually offer free computer and internet access, fax and telephone service for job search. Resource centres also provide professional job search guidance, job search reference libraries, employment information sessions, job search workshops, networking resources, career information in books and videos, and résumé clinics. Sometimes, they offer computer classes in programs like Word or Excel or in using the internet.
Resource centres are available for everybody. For information about the centre closest to you ask at any settlement agency or visit www.cnmag.ca, and download our settlement guide employment directory.
Skills training programs range from learning new computer skills to upgrading your diploma. Training can be found at community agencies, school boards, colleges, universities and private trainers. This training usually has an employment focus – training for a specific occupation or specific work-related skills, such as computer training.
Before taking any training, you have to verify what skills are actually needed for the work you want, whether the training will give you those skills, whether the course is up-to-date, what credentials the course offers (certificate, diploma, etc.), what the costs are, the availability of financial help and whether or not the organization is registered.
Some courses are one-day long and some are over several weeks.
Information about different training is available at Employment Ontario (www.edu.gov.on.ca) in the services for jobseekers section.
Job Connect provides services tailored to individual needs. It is a career and employment preparation program, created to help especially young people to find and keep employment.
Job Connect provides access to employment related resources and the assistance of knowledgeable staff and it is delivered through colleges and non-profit community agencies, such as youth employment centres and adult help centres. The program has three components: information and resource service, employment planning and preparation, and job development and placement support. Through all these, it provides employment counselling, job development, information on careers and local job markets, career planning, job search support, employment placements and on-the-job training. Job Connect also helps to access other services, such as bridge-training projects for the internationally trained; credential and language assessment and training (ESL/FSL); academic upgrading; apprenticeship training; high school and postsecondary education.
Who can participate?
Information and Resource Service: Anyone seeking employment and/or training.
Employment Planning and Preparation: People who are at least 16 years old, out of school and out of work, and not receiving Employment Insurance benefits.
Job Development and Placement Support: People who are at least 16 years of age, out of school, out of work, not currently in a training program, and not receiving Employment Insurance benefits.
For more information or locations call Employment Ontario at 1-800-387-5656 for free, or (416) 326-5656 in Toronto.