Recent immigrant retools in pursuit of career development

Madan Roy’s controlled anger was immediately noticeable in his voice as he described the difficulties he faced finding a job in Canada. The mechanical engineer from Bangladesh came to Canada secure that his professional experience would surely land him a job in his field.

From the moment he arrived in Toronto, Roy began pounding the sidewalk applying for every job relating to his field. A year later and without any leads, Roy, who has two elementary school-aged daughters and a wife to support, began searching for any odd job to pay the bills. Even that proved difficult.

“What does Canadian experience have to do with pouring coffee at Tim Horton’s?” asked Roy.

It was a rhetorical question but it is one that bewilders the mind of every recent immigrant to Canada.

After two years of job hunting, the mechanical engineer from Bangladesh couldn’t grasp why the career he spent 18 years building wasn’t translating as bona fide professional experience to Canadian employers.

One day, Roy’s friend and fellow engineer told him about the Master of Engineering program at the University of Windsor.

“He said that the University offers a Master of Engineering program and that they are very good at assessing foreign earned credentials.” said Roy.

Roy paid a visit to the University’s International Outreach office in Toronto and applied for the program, although he was not really sure if he could uproot his family again to a new town.

“Looking back now, I know I made a good decision, I got accepted into the program, found subsidized housing for my family and this spring I will earn a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering.” said Roy.

Dr. Majid Ahmadi, the Faculty of Engineering’s coordinator for Advanced and Professional Programs at the University of Windsor, knows too well that an immigrant’s ability to settle in Canada is at the mercy of the job market.

“We are not an employment agency; our job is to provide quality education to students so that they can go out there and sell their knowledge and skills to the highest bidder.”

Although nervous about job-hunting all over again, Roy knows he has a leg-up this time around. Armed with updated Canadian education and employment resources from the University of Windsor’s Centre for Career Education, Roy’s quest for employment in his field is realistically more attainable this time around.

“Even in these tough economic times, students can be successful in finding work if they conduct thorough job searches and are able to clearly convey their skill set to employers,” said Karen Benzinger, Director of the Centre for Career Education. “Our office can serve as a resource for students in that process.”

The Centre provides career development services to all University of Windsor students, including teaching students, on how to tap into the hidden job market, as not all employers advertise job openings through traditional means.

For more information on the University of Windsor and its program for recent immigrants and international students in Toronto, a free information session will be held this Saturday, April 10, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Toronto Outreach Office, 240 Broadview Avenue (at Dundas Street East).

For more information, call 416-461-1570 or email intl@uwindsor.ca

 

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