Earlier this month, some 80 recent graduates of York University’s Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) Bridging Program received their certificates during a special ceremony held in the presence of friends and family. The new cohort heard how the program has helped past graduates build successful careers in Canada.
“Students in the IEP Bridging Program come from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of experience. The courses we took at York University really sharpened our skills,” said Jasvinder Singh, who moved to Canada three years ago.
Singh had extensive experience as an information technology (IT) consultant at Oracle’s India and Singapore offices, but found himself jobless five months after he relocated to Canada for a project. He now owns a successful solution architecture consulting business, which he said is thanks to his York education.
Singh is one of two alumni of the program who spoke at the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) event, sharing stories of initially struggling for career breakthrough in Canada. Eventual success came following their participation in the bridging program.
Divya Khare was a human resources (HR) professional in India, where she managed HR for an entire region until leaving for Canada in 2013. In India she knew exactly what would have worked for a job seeker and she was set to apply those skills when interviewing in Canada.
After several interviews, when she hadn’t been hired, Khare realized she needed to first acquire insights into the Canadian workplace and gain local industry-specific knowledge, as well as soft skills. That’s when she found York’s IEP bridging program.
“There were so many soft skills that I learned,” said Khare, who is now a human resources manager at Aramark Canada. “That includes regaining confidence in my ability. I also learned to retool my job search strategy and recognize opportunities in my field in a way that I had not done before I joined the program.”
Hundreds of IEPs like Singh and Khare have benefited from York’s IEP Bridging Programs for HR, IT and business professionals, according to Art Noordeh, director of the IEP Bridging Program in LA&PS. He added: “The program offers a pool of talented and dedicated IEP professionals and we provide no-cost recruitment services to companies wanting to connect with these candidates. We know employers will be glad of their decision to have such talented staff in their organization.”
“Graduates who have found successful employment are a testament to the fact that Ontario’s bridge training programs are making a difference,” said MPP Laura Albanese, a former broadcast journalist and now the Ontario minister of citizenship and immigration, in a congratulatory note that was read at the event. “When highly skilled immigrants become licensed in their profession and find work in their field, they are empowered to make valuable contributions to their communities and to our province’s economy. We look forward to continuing our support of this important program because when immigrants succeed, Ontario succeeds.”
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, York’s program helps IEPs from more than 70 countries to foster an understanding of Canadian work culture and education in the context of their respective professions. Representatives of York University and partner organizations including Career Edge, CPA, Magnet, HRPA, Civic York, COSTI, New Canadians and the Workforce Planning Board of York Region attended the event to support the new graduates.