BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
Finding meaningful employment can feel like an arduous task especially when you’re looking for something worthwhile, and relevant to your qualifications.
According to a report by Statistics Canada did at the beginning on 2018, the employment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.7% in December 2017, down from 5.9% the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976.
For newcomers to the GTA, the struggle to find acceptable employment is difficult especially when you are unsure of where to look or what you might be qualified to do. Finding a job that suits your skill set and also pays well aren’t usually advertised on public forums and unless you have the right connections you end up in positions you’d rather not be.
Over 30 years ago in 1986, a non-profit organization called ACCESEmployment was created to provide employment services to job seekers in Toronto, specializing in providing job search services to newcomers to Canada. For years they have been a leader in connecting employers with qualified employees from diverse backgrounds. More than 20,000 job seekers are served annually at five locations across the Greater Toronto Area. As a not-for-profit corporation, ACCESreceives funding from all levels of government, corporate sponsors, various supporters and the United Way Toronto.
According to Ada Wong the VP, Marketing, Communications & Digital Strategies their mission is to “Assist job seekers from diverse backgrounds, who are facing barriers to employment, to integrate into the Canadian job market. We achieve this by providing employment services, linking employers to skilled people and building strong networks in collaboration with community partners.”
85% of jobs areadvertised in the hidden job market! This makes it very difficult for newcomers, who have limited personal and professional networks, to find employment. At ACCESEmployment they seek to unveil this hidden job market for newcomers, many of who are highly skilled professionals.
Can you remember the first time you set out into the workforce? What were some of the questions you had, who did you know, or what type of work were you looking for? Making the right connections for those who are new to the city is a nerve-wrackingexperience. Many people are unsure of where to look, and many times their prestigious qualifications go to waste when then accept employment in a position not suited to them.
“ACCES has a number of sector-specificprograms that help newcomers to find work in Canada that reflects their skills and experience,” shares Wong. “We also offer programs and services to youth, refugees, women, entrepreneurs, and other job seekers in Canada. ACCESnow offers over 30 different programsacross the Greater Toronto Area an online.”
Some of the challenges that newcomers face in search of meaningful employment include language barriers, lack of knowledge about their sector in Canada, lack of knowledge about the job search process, and most importantly, they do not have a professionalnetwork in place to help connect them to potential job opportunities.
In the world of social media with professional platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram some would say it has never been easier to make the right connections. However,there is a vast majority of the population who still don’t know how to properly utilize social media to create professional connectionsand some who don’t use it at all.
“For newcomers to Canada, networking is a highly effective way to start a job search and meet professionals who can introduce you to new opportunities,” Wong explains. “A large percentage of jobs are not advertised, which means that who you know can lead to a number of jobs with employers that are hiring.”
Newcomers to the Canadian workforce are at an even greater disadvantage especially with more refugees and immigrants from countries where the internet is not used as freely as it is in North America.
“Newcomers can visit any of our in-person locations to meet with an employment consultant, no appointment is required,” Wong says. “Many job seekers can also find ACCES online through our webinars and online events, these provide an excellent support as well.”
ACCESEmployment offers many helpful programs and services for newcomers to make job connections with Sector-Specific career exploration options, Sector-Specific Bridging Programs (for internationally-trained professionals), mentoring programs (Speed Mentoring®, Mentoring Partnership, Connectors Program), Youth Programs, Programs for Women (START and Empowering Women), Entrepreneurship Connections.
In addition to these services, ACCESEmployment offers a Speed Mentoring® program that allows individuals to network with professionals in their field, to receive advice about their job search, and meet employer contacts who can refer you to job opportunities. They host over 75 Speed Mentoring® events each year in various sectors.
“It is essentially a speed dating event, but for mentorship, and is one of the largest networking events of the year in the GTA,” says Pinder Rehal, Marketing & Communications Specialist at ACCESEmployment. “Over 400 job seekers and professionals across various sectors will be given a chance to connect with each other. For the newcomer job seekers,this is a chance to learn from senior professionals in their fields, practice their communication skills, and can even lead to job opportunities.”
These events both highlight the barriers newcomers face to find employment and showcases the great supports there are from professionals and the community.
At ACCESEmployment they value and respect the uniqueness of each individual, including their clients, employers, community partners and themselves. They strive to provide every person with customer service excellence and an exceptional customer experience.
They are a client-focused organization with services tailored to meet the needs of their clients, community and prospective employers. They are accountable and results-oriented and committed to helping people find the job opportunities or employees that they are searching for.
With the help of ACCESEmployment,the job search can be less stressful. They are capable of providing you with a job search experience you can feel confident in. If you or someone you know is looking to make better, more beneficial job connections ACCESEmployment is here to find the connections that are right for you!