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Practical project experience opens doors to career opportunities for newcomers in Canada


Karan Dube landed in Canada with eight years of experience in sales and marketing and a professional focus on project management.

Looking for an opportunity to find a job in his field, he joined the Sales and Marketing Connections program at ACCES Employment, a bridging program that supports internationally-trained professionals with entering the job market by mobilizing their experience and providing them with a Canadian context for their skills.

As a part of the launch of ACCES Employment’s Talent Connections initiative, Dube and his classmates were challenged to solve a real world business problem put forward by an employer.

This experiential learning opportunity gave them the space they needed to showcase their skills and experience for potential employers and to build their professional networks and resumés.

Their collaboration was facilitated through Riipen, an innovative online platform that allows learners, employers and academic institutions to connect and learn with each other.

The project Dube worked on involved developing a roadmap for the launch, promotion and market establishment of a specialty bread imported from Brazil to Canada.

“I gained first-hand insight into working in Canada in a collaborative team environment.  The ‘live’ project gave me the opportunity to interact with an employer and I gained knowledge and experience with Canadian business practices,” shared Dube.

Real world business problems are key to the success of experiential learning, and employers play an integral role in the initiative. They get a chance to preview potential hires and explore solutions to their business problems that have been developed by internationally-trained professionals with strong skills and experience.

“Employers get a chance to see the benefits of hiring internationally-trained talent and get exposed to new creativity,” says Peter Hawkins, Managing Director of Mellowhawk Logistics.

Hawkins also views the opportunity as a way for candidates to gain valuable insight into the Canadian workplace and the sectors they’d like to work within.

“Experiential learning is a key component for success in the labour market for foreign-trained candidates.  Candidates see what skills are truly valued by Canadian employers and this can open the candidate’s eyes to a wide array of targetable companies.”

Over 82 per cent of ACCES Employment’s bridging program graduates find employment that reflects their skills and experience.  The launch of experiential learning in ACCES programs is anticipated to contribute to this continued success and the relevance of the programs to the Canadian job market. “The initiative represents an innovative approach in the employment services sector, one that will provide important practical experience to help newcomers find work that reflects their skills and experience.  This learning will make a real difference when a candidate is meeting an employer and can speak to the practical aspects of their job more easily,” says Allison Pond, President and CEO, ACCES Employment.

For Karan Dube, starting his job search with this experience makes him feel more prepared for the journey to come. “I feel like this project has strengthened my positioning in the job market. It adds to my resumé and I feel like I’m ready to start my job search and meet with employers.”

ACCES Employment is a leader in connecting employers with qualified employees from diverse backgrounds. More than 32,000 job seekers are served annually at  locations across the Greater Toronto Area and virtually and pre-arrival through online services.

As a not-for-profit corporation, ACCES receives funding from all levels of government, corporate sponsors, various supporters and the United Way Toronto and York Region. For more information about services and programs at ACCES, visit www.accesemployment.ca.

Posted: Sep 30, 2018

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