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Mentors help bridge the gap

April 2, 2009
Toronto Star

Jennifer Brown

When Priyanka Chandra followed her husband to Canada four years ago, she had a difficult time finding a job in her field of fashion design.

Although she taught design back home in India, she spent a year searching for a teaching job here before giving up and enrolling in a post-graduate program in human resources.

She completed that program last October and was looking for her first job when she discovered [The Mentoring Partnership, a program of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)], which connects immigrant job hunters with Canadian workers in the same field.

Chandra was teamed with Marta Rzeszowska Chavent, a senior manager at Deloitte, which, by pure coincidence, is where her husband works as a consultant.

With her mentor’s assistance, Chandra was able to land a job as a recruiter with The Staffing Exchange (TSE Canada).

Rzeszowska Chavent heads up Deloitte’s mentorship program, which now has 150 employees helping coach new Canadians through TRIEC.

“A lot of it is helping them to get job ready and giving them tips on how to go through the job-search process – reviewing their resumé, practicing interview skills and general support,” she says.

“In Canada, networking is a very big part of finding a job,” she adds. “A lot of new immigrants don’t know what that means, or might be shy or apprehensive to network based on their own comfort level or language skills.”

She points out that job hunting is even tougher for newcomers in these tough economic times.

“This might not be the most ideal time to be looking for a job,” she says. “But if you have the right skills and you are persistent, there are companies still hiring. I don’t think anyone should give up, but it is a concern for new immigrants.”

Reference:  Toronto Star