Job Skills is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing people’s capacity to participate in the labour market, thereby contributing to the economic and social viability of our community.
Soon after arriving in Canada, I began searching for a job in my
field of expertise – marketing. I have a master’s degree
and a successful career track record, so I thought I would find
work with relative ease, as I always had. I sent a lot of applications
without result and was becoming both concerned and discouraged.
I worked hard improving my resume and cover letters, and mastering
the job interviewing skills. I learned as well, the importance of
networking, trying to access the hidden job market.
I was looking hard for an employment opportunity
however as a foreign-trained professional was facing the famous
barrier of “No Canadian Experience, No Job; No Job, No Canadian
Interviews were scarce and when I did get a foot
in the door, my lack of Canadian work experience would most certainly
swing it back shut. It was this reason I decided to look for a help
at a Practice Firm—Simfit,
a division of Job Skills.
I met the most dedicated professionals there,
putting all their efforts to help new immigrants or new graduates
in their job searches. While continuing my job search, I was working
in a marketing department of a simulated business, gaining valuable
Canadian work experience, understanding Canadian workplace culture,
values and expectations, enhancing my self-confidence, improving
communication and teamwork skills. The professional staff was there
for everybody, supporting and helping out with all the questions.
Soon after finishing my term at Simfit I was offered
a job in my field! The interview lasted almost four hours but at
the end, I was taken to meet the employees of the company and offered
I wish that all foreign-trained individuals, tired
of a searching for that elusive job and hearing only “No Canadian
Experience” or “You are overqualified”, could
have the opportunity found at a Job Skills’ Practice Firm!
I was surprised and excited when I joined
the Youth Entrepreneurship Program
(YEP) at Job Skills, although a bit skeptical, wondering who just
gives this information away? I had been researching the same information
for almost a year and even on the internet, this was not easily
attainable for free, much less finding someone willing to support
my efforts while I continued to learn
Attending the workshops and slowly gathering information was surprisingly
easy, all my questions were answered and the answers were understood
All the information I obtained was useful,
I felt there was no wasted time involved in the sessions. I would
strongly recommend that anyone who has even the slightest interest
in owning their own business take the YEP and be supported by the
experienced, professional Business Coaches. This combination provided
me the push to take that extra step and the want to succeed.
At the time I began my stay at Simpressions,
one of three virtual companies operated by Job Skills, I had almost
given up hope of ever being employed again. My job search had netted
only a couple of interviews and they weren't even in my field. I
was looking for a position doing technical support and was getting
nowhere. I felt like I was falling into a bottomless pit with no
hope of ever getting out.
I did the usual things people do when looking
for a job - I looked in the newspaper, posted my resume on internet
web sites and made phone calls. But I got no results. As time wore
on I got more and more frustrated and began to feel that my situation
was hopeless. My enthusiasm sank lower and lower, as did my self-esteem.
I almost became afraid to go out, fearful that I would run into
someone I knew and have to painfully explain my embarrassing situation
to them. I realized I had to do something drastic and soon. Fortunately,
I had the opportunity to see an Employment
Advisor. She strongly recommended Job Skills and trying a work
term at a Practice Firm.
And so I ‘was hired’ by Simpressions,
Job Skills’ Practice Firm in Markham. Right away, I felt better
about my situation because I realized that I wasn't the only unemployed
person in the world. There were other people in my situation and
I was not alone.
The expert staff at Job Skills helped me to revamp
my resume, provided job leads, coached and advised me, and provided
unending support and guidance with my job search. But the big thing
was that I was actually working. I could go to an interview and
tell people that I was working and feel good about that and about
My job search began to show results and I started
to get invited for interviews. My confidence grew and I felt that
it would only be a matter of time before I landed a job. And succeed
I did! I am now working for IBM on their Customer Service Help Desk.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn't
been a participant at Job Skills, I would still be spinning my wheels
and looking for a job!
Hats off to Job Skills and their excellent
Practice Firms! With their superior success rate, top notch staff,
professional environment, and endless personal support, Job Skills
played a huge part in my success. I highly recommend Job Skills
to any job seeker that wants to work hard and be successful in their
After working in marketing for a company
for over two and a half years, the majority was acquired by a much
larger Real Estate Investment Trust, who also took on the majority
of employees. I worked with this larger company for five months
before I was dismissed “without cause” as they hired
a new VP of Operations. They were reshuffling since there were many
head office personnel from many acquired companies, and were looking
for someone with more experience in the industry to head up the
After being let go, my job search began, and so
too the frustrating succession of “you show lots of potential,
but we’re looking for someone with a little more experience.”
After months of submitting resume after resume,
I took inventory of my skill set and what I was looking to accomplish.
I had already realized, but it was then that I conceded that it
was actually my volunteer work as an in-home support provider for
my local hospice, Doane House, that really fulfilled me and I thought
that if my attempts to find a marketing position were to no avail,
was there a way to find a job in another field—a field that
I am more passionate about and find more rewarding.
It was at this interval that I found the Skills
and Development Application on the Service Canada website and decided
there was nothing I could lose in trying and if I did receive funding,
I would not only find a job, but in a field I was better suited
for. From there, I was direct to Job Skills for assistance and assessment.
One on one support from my Employment
Advisor helped me decide that I was in fact suitable, and I
develop a return to work action plan which included my application
for Skills and Development Benefits.
I have been accepted to the Georgina College/York
University Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program and am
applying for funding for my first year of study, after which there
are summer and part-time jobs I could acquire in the healthcare
profession, through the clinics I will put in my practicum hours,
to continue paying for my education. When I am done, there are plenty
of nursing jobs just waiting to be filled, due to our nation-wide
nursing shortage. The hours in nursing (shift work) will also be
better suited for my home life as I am a new mom of an 11 month
old and the pay rates are equal to, and/or better than what I was
making as a marketer, which means I will be able to better contribute
financially to our household and have lots of time to enjoy my daughter.
With my husband on a pension and recovering from heart surgery,
I found myself unemployed after 12 years—it was devastating.
If I didn’t have a job, we would lose our house. Employment
Insurance wasn’t enough.
Job Skills helped me tremendously by teaching
me how my resume and cover letter should be done. After 12 years
in my last position, I really didn’t realize all that I did
and all the skills I had until I completed my resume. I was also
taught how to do Internet searches properly, as well as those scary,
but necessary, cold calls. The encouragement I received while at
the Job Finding Club, and having
the staff support when you feel you are alone looking for work was
I had just lost my job and was feeling unmotivated and confused
on what direction to take. I had been interested in educating myself
but was financially unable to do so. I heard about the Youth
Entrepreneurship Program offered by Job Skills and thought the
idea was great. I was interviewed, then accepted into the program
and had the opportunity to be educated by present business professionals.
At Job Skills my mind opened up to the business
aspect of the working world. I was surprised at how much I knew
but more so how much I didn’t know. Job Skills helped me to
better understand the business world. The Youth Entrepreneurship
Program allowed me to see both my strengths and weaknesses as a
business owner, employee and an everyday person. I graduated from
the program with more purpose and a higher level of confidence for
the road ahead.
I moved to Canada in the summer of 2006 and after settling down
I wanted to further my career here. Despite trying my best for a
couple of months I couldn't find a job. Though I did get a few interview
calls, however no opportunity converted into anything tangible.
That's when I met a Youth Employment Advisor
at Job Skills and that was my best career move in Canada.
The biggest struggle I faced was to fight the
'No Canadian Experience' tag. I have heard innumerable accounts
of immigrants who, despite their impeccable academic and professional
records, couldn't find suitable employment just because of their
lack of Canadian experience. And of course, having no job only accentuated
the problem. Another struggle I faced was trying to decipher the
'Canadian way of doing things'; to understand how to draft a resume
and cover letter and customize them to different situations, how
to address people, the interview etiquettes etc.
The area where Job Skills helped me the most was
helping me to network and make new contacts. As a new immigrant,
my contacts were limited and leads negligible. Job Skills helped
me to meet new people and establish contacts. I also needed help
regaining my confidence. After months of dedicated job search and
no results I was almost giving up hope of finding a job unless I
advanced my studies and in the process gained some Canadian experience.
But Job Skills encouraged me to refine my job finding techniques
and face the vagaries of the job market with a renewed confidence.
I was superlatively impressed by the premise
of the Job Finding Club as a cornerstone
of job search. We were encouraged to call potential employers, to
network, to be ‘out there.’ In this day and age, the
traditional job hunting techniques of applying to advertised jobs
When I found myself unemployed, the struggle I was facing was that
I wasn’t going to be able to show my parents that I’m
a responsible individual who could accomplish much in my life. I
was also wondering how I would pay for my college education.
I was looking for a job, but was preparing my
resume the wrong way. I signed up with the Youth
Employment Advisors at Job Skills to see how they could help
me. My Youth Employment Advisor helped me better prepare my resume,
and after only a few tries, I got a call back from one of the places
I had applied to. I was quickly working part time at a local grocery
store. About a week later, I got another job as a shipper/receiver
and have received on-the-job training using heavy equipment.
With help from the staff at Job Skills, I was
able to get two jobs and also a co-op position and I’ve gained
lots of knowledge that I’m going to use to be a better person!
I had almost 13 years business experience with some wonderful mentors.
When faced with loss of employment and my last daughter getting
married, my husband encouraged me to really think about what I would
want to do for a satisfying, long-term activity that generates income.
I thought about the option of self-employment
and felt very frightened by the prospect. Through my Employment
Insurance orientation to programs and services available, I picked
up a Job Skills’ Self-Employment
Benefits Program pamphlet and decided this was my next step.
I worked through the stages of acceptance into
the Program while taking baby steps in launching my business. With
a strict Application Process, I was initially refused entrance into
the Program but I didn't want NO! I wanted to access the services
and support offered through this Program - so I pursued it again
and three weeks later - NO became YES! I was elated.
I started the classes, followed the assignments
and especially put my full effort into the business planning process
under the guidance of my business coach. She kept me accountable,
on track and focused. Once my Business Plan was a 'go' - it became
my operating plan for my first real year in business.
One by one, clients came on board and I have operated
a financially successful business from my very first year! With
flexible hours and control over my activities, I have energy and
focus to offer my clients. The variety of duties and the varied
locations and business activities keep me fully engaged and interested.
There’s no turning back. Thank you to my business coach and
the team at Job Skills for their professional and supportive delivery
of information designed to make people like me successful!
I immigrated to Canada a year ago from Israel. In Israel, I finished
University in Computer Science and worked as a software tester for
four years. When I came to Canada, I started to look for a job by
sending my resume out. I had a couple of interviews, but no job
Half a year passed when a friend told me about
the Welcome Centre and
recommended I meet with an Employment Settlement Specialist. I met
with her and received the help I needed. She helped me with resume
writing, explained to me about what Canadian employers expect, how
to go about networking, registered me for the Job
Search Workshops Program, Enhanced Language Training (ELT) and
found a Quality Assurance course for me to update my skills. The
Job Search Workshops Program facilitator clearly explained the different
components of the job search process and how to perform them effectively.
We had a chance to practice what we had learned. For example, I
had a chance to practice a job interview. The facilitator addressed
all the questions that I had with attention and patience.
Before I came to the Welcome Centre, I started
to lose faith in my chances of finding a job in my field and was
thinking of working as an Office Assistant. After meeting with the
staff, I felt encouraged to continue moving toward my goal. I felt
more confident and determined. The fact that both of the staff I
worked with were immigrants themselves was helpful; I felt that
they really understood what I was going through.
I attended the Enhanced Language Training Program
where I improved my English and learned occupational-specific terminology.
At the same time, I attended the Quality Assurance course in the
evening that really helped me update my skills. I started to send
out my new resume and received a great response from employers.
I was invited to several interviews. During interviews, I put into
practice what I learned at the Welcome Centre, making a good impression
I recently accepted a position as a Quality Assurance
analyst. I am really happy that I am working and thankful to the
Employment Support Services Staff at the Welcome Centre for all
their help, caring and involvement!
I've lived with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for the majority of
my life. In my adulthood, I have found it very difficult to balance
my health and working to support myself.
After a medical procedure, when I was able and
ready to start working, I was discouraged at the lack of jobs I
could find and worried about my ability to maintain ‘9-5’
employment. Through employment counselling, I was directed to Job
Skills and the Self-Employment Benefits
(SEB) Opportunities Fund Program. The application process was
relatively short and within two and a half months I was researching
and writing my Business Plan for what would become Func.tion
Designs. There were many challenges and surprises along the
way, including what a tremendous success my Quilled Floral Art Work
would be. Six months after starting my business, my main product
had shifted from greeting cards and jewellery to art work. I found
myself selling out at my first solo art show and attending craft
shows to rave reviews. I was taking custom orders so fast I could
barely keep up. My second solo show was preceded by a sudden death
in my family. I want to mention that when you are running a one-woman
show and you find yourself facing grief, physical challenges and
intermittent depression, trying to meet work deadlines that involve
creativity and concentration is not easy!! I struggled through those
months and if it hadn't been for the support and gentle pushes from
my Business Coach, I don't know how I would have gotten through
The show ended up being a huge success; I sold
over half the art work at the opening and was left with only two
pieces at the end. Following this second show, I fell into a steady
pattern of creating for custom orders and preparing for the summer
craft sales. Shortly after completing the SEB Program, my life circumstances
changed drastically and I found myself living in a new city and
having a difficult time being creative. I have maintained taking
and completing custom orders, although at a much slower rate then
before. I have enjoyed this reprieve; it's allowed me to rejuvenate
the creativity that I depleted during the first two years of business.
I am developing ideas and pieces for a new body of work that I hope
to show in the fall and winter of 2008/09. The SEB Program gave
me the support and guidance to start and develop Func.tion Designs
and it is a company, my company, that I can modify to fit my needs.
My unique product and loyal clientele base feed my creativity.
I am originally from Cameroon situated in Central Africa. I immigrated
to Toronto from the United States with my wife and two kids as landed
immigrants. Upon arriving in Canada we stayed with a friend for
about six weeks before moving into an apartment in North York where
we continue to live till this day.
It has been extremely difficult for us trying
to settle in Canada. For over two months we were spending the little
money we brought with us and had no way of replenishing it. Everything
was expensive — the flight ticket from Cameroon cost us so
much, renting an apartment and all that comes with it was a lot
too. It was imperative that I find a job as soon as possible and
the Welcome Centre was
there to help me. The Welcome Center introduced me to some resources
that were very helpful. The Employment Settlement Specialist helped
me to quickly prepare to find a job. I am very appreciative of the
relentless manner in which she worked to enable me to get a job.
I cannot even fathom what would have happened
had I not found work when I did. Things still continue to be very
difficult for us because I barely make enough to take care of my
family. My wife is unable to work because we have not been able
to secure day care for the children. We are very excited to be in
Canada and we hope things will only get better down the road. Thank
you to the staff at the Welcome Center for being open and welcoming
to us. Life would have been a lot more difficult without you.
My job search skills were outdated and making it difficult for me
to find a professional job. I came to Job Skills to gain knowledge
about the labour market, and enhance my job search skills. Professional
Job Finding Club Staff at Job Skills
taught me a systematic, targeted approach to finding a job.
Within a month, I became employed! A real jackpot!!
With the help of the amazing staff, I found a well paid job in my
profession. The staff empowers you with the skills you need to become
a master in job finding. They are very passionate about their jobs
and have a great empathy for the people who come to them for help.
My story started about 25 years ago. I was in the Printing Graphics
field. I ended up doing all aspects of that field, ending up as
a Mac operator for about 12 years. Years ago, the money in the field
was great and work satisfaction unbelievable. Unfortunately, there
was a trend that found society going paperless.
Also, with the introduction of the computer, it
seems that wages dropped and the competition increased. I wanted
to try something that was stable and I could hopefully depend on
until I retire.
After being downsized from a job that I had for
over 25 years, I was dealing with a lot of barriers. Employment
Counselling and Career Exploration workshops, along with support
from my Employment Advisor has
led me to believe you can work at anything you want to, if it is
in your heart. With the support of Job Skills, I developed a plan
that led to my new career.
Two years ago, I was a Tool and Die Maker; however, I started to
get severe back pain. As a solution, I enrolled myself in a Mechanical
Engineering Program at Sheridan College. While waiting for my course
to start, I decided to go up to my grandparents’ farm and
help out with my sick grandfather. He died shortly thereafter, and
my grandmother began to consider selling the farm. That is when
the idea came to me to start a farm of my own, in order to keep
the property in the family. To me, losing it would be a tragedy.
So I started to do some research in the industry and determined
that it would be possible. Then I discovered Job Skills and the
Self-Employment Benefits Program,
and the rest, as they say, is history!
So, a message to all future SEB’ers, I am
living proof that if you believe in something, work hard enough
and have one-on-one support from a Job Skills’ Business Coach,
anything is achievable!
10 years ago, I came to Canada from Pakistan where I used to
teach. When I came here, my four children were very small and I
to work. When they got older, I worked as a lunch supervisor. I
wanted to move ahead and teach again but needed Canadian experience.
Someone told me about Job Skills and I found a
very helpful Employment Advisor.
She gave me so much confidence, even in our first meeting, and more
with each meeting. She provided a lot of information and guidance.
Job Skills helped me apply for funding so I could train to become
an Early Childhood Assistant, on my way to becoming an Early Childhood
After my training, I started looking for a job
again and got so many interviews! Today, I work at a Child Care
Centre. Everything I am is thanks to my Employment Advisor and Job
Skills, who gave me confidence and guided me to a great job that
helps me support my family. I think that if someone is hard working
and sincere they can accomplish anything. Thank you to a truly amazing