When Daniel Azike arrived in Ottawa in March 2019 from Nigeria, someone gave him a great bit of advice – to take advantage of settlement services.
He browsed the OCISO website and soon found himself participating in employment and mentoring workshops. He was paired with a mentor who was working in a related field of IT and project management.
“I had a very good experience with OCISO. It was really helpful to get insight from my mentor into how to prepare for a job interview.” His mentor also taught him how to pay attention to the small details of doing a job interview and to focus on his skills and passion.
In July 2019, Daniel began working as a product manager at Shopify.
After working in journalism and media relations in Morocco, Adam craved a change so he moved with his young family to Canada in September 2019.
They immigrated through the Express Entry program for skilled workers. The first place they lived was close to the OCISO office, so he inquired about services offered for newcomers.
Adam’s first step was to participate in employment workshops for about four months. Then he joined OCISO’s mentorship program.
“My mentor was the perfect match,” remarks Adam. “We got along quickly, speak the same language and have worked in the same sector.”
“Prior to the job interview, I met my mentor three times and she helped me prepare,” explained Adam.
He started his new job with a not-for-profit arts organization in the middle of March, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. He has worked from home since becoming employed.
“Having a mentor made a huge difference,” says Adam. “The quality of finding the right match was perfect. It was a great help. It helped me to emphasize major strengths and positive parts of my profile. My mentor was there to help me in many ways that really made a difference.”
In March 2019, Mojtaba Omran and his wife immigrated to Canada from Iran through the Express Entry program for skilled workers. With a Master of Arts in English Literature, he has taught English as a Second/Foreign Language (EFL) in Tehran, Iran for a decade.
OCISO, which he found online, was one of the first places he visited when he arrived in Ottawa. “My mentor has been very helpful and kind,” says Mojtaba. “He generously shared his knowledge, experience and network with me. He opened my eyes to what I needed to consider while looking for a job.”
“Having a mentor was a great help,” explains Mojtaba. “The experience went beyond job search and he helped us integrate into our new community. It is a delight having him around as an honest, reliable friend. In my job search, he helped me learn how to find, apply, and evaluate my fit for different positions. Plus, he shared his network, some of whom I met for information sessions, so that I could get to know the job market better. Step by step we had a plan. He also went through my resume and showed me how to tailor it in accordance with the Canadian employment norms and expectations in my field. I treasure his friendship and guidance.”
“Initially, like most immigrants do, we went through disappointment, regret and doubt,” remarks Mojtaba. “My mentor was there for us, to let us know that it will be fine and eventually it became fine.”
Mojtaba has worked in retail in addition to studying at Algonquin College, which fast-tracked him to be a certified ESL teacher at the end of August. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has adapted well to doing courses online. He recently found a job at a language institute to help English learners to take the IELTS language test. He is currently working on preparing related material based on the curriculum and will begin teaching soon.
He has also initiated a language proficiency test preparation program at PAND Settlement Services and volunteered with OCISO’s LINC and YOCISO programs.
His wife found a job, teaching ESL to government employees and will start a Master’s program at Carleton University in September.
“I thank OCISO for shedding light on our future; we came to Canada to chase a dream which now is starting to turn into reality.”