Conference connects internationally educated professionals with local opportunities

Vari pond

York University’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) hosted the New Careers Start Here 2017 conference to connect the program’s students and alumni with employment opportunities and resources.

During the Nov. 18 event, recruiters, employers, and volunteer- and employment-related services engaged with IEP Bridging Program students to support them in finding satisfying work in Canada.

Students who attended the conference

The Bridging Program helps students to “acquire the critical attributes necessary to gain meaningful employment commensurate with their education and experience,” said Art Noordeh, the program’s faculty director.

The conference invited 28 guest speakers from partner organizations and companies across Ontario. Funded by the Government of Ontario, and hosted by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Bridging Program certificate prepares newly arrived international professionals to be job ready and ensures they have the skills and qualifications to make a strong contribution to the Canadian workplace.

The career conference offered a panel of five guests from different organizations who explored trends in the economy, entrepreneurship and employment.

Heejung (Lois) Kahng
Scott Bowman

“Panellists highlighted key skills currently in demand and how experienced immigrant job seekers can best position themselves to succeed in the current job market,” said Monica Brennan, Bridging Program manager. “For students, this was very valuable when deciding which skills to market to employers.

“Whether students are looking for work or to start a business, all the panellists emphasized the value of finding mentors to support them.”

The panel’s first speaker, Corinne Pohlmann, represented the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. As the senior vice-president of the federation’s National Affairs & Partnerships, she spoke about employment opportunities with small business in Ontario.

Heejung (Lois) Kahng, employment liaison officer from Professions North/Nord, discussed services and jobs in Northern Ontario.

Futurpreneur Canada’s Senior Director for Ontario, Scott Bowman, addressed entrepreneur trends and supports.

Maureen Ford, program manager for the Information & Communications Technology Council, and Bashir Fancy, representing the Canadian Information Processing Society and Ontario Corporate Solutions and Services Inc., explained how to succeed in the hiring processes as an immigrant IT professional.

At the conference, students were also invited to participate in smaller workshop sessions in the morning and afternoon. The morning workshops focused on “What’s Trending in Hiring,” providing students with tips on succeeding in hiring processes in their fields. Workshop speakers were from the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA), IT recruiters from the ADIUVO Group and finance recruiters from the Robert Half Eastern Canada staffing agency.

In the afternoon, students attended workshops focused on “Building Your Career and Social Capital.” Guest speakers from Enterprise Toronto, DiverseCity on Board, Civic York, Magnet and JVS presented on topics such as networking, volunteering, employment support services and how to start a business.

The conference closed with an Employment Marketplace where students visited booths in the Vari Hall rotunda. Each booth was hosted by recruiters from companies such as TD Canada Trust, Sun Life Financial and a number of recruitment firms, as well as representatives from services organizations that support volunteering and employment in the community.

For more information on the IEP Bridging Program Conference, visit the event page.