Every year, thousands of immigrants move to Canada with the hope of securing a better life for themselves and their families. Highly qualified professionals come here from all over the world, often leaving prestigious jobs, but hoping to at least resume where they left off. Hoping that the years they invested in education and experience from their country of origin will count for something in their new home. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case, and a large number of immigrants end up falling through the cracks. Jose Garcia came very close to being a part of that number. But instead of becoming just another number, Jose Garcia became a story. A story that proves the Canadian dream is still alive.
Jose Garcia was an Industrial Engineer with an MBA back in Mexico City. He was a skilled professional with over 15 years of experience specializing in managing projects and end to end initiatives. While he was still working in Mexico City, one of his projects entailed performing a research study comparing the economies of Canada and Mexico. So he compared several variables between the two countries, including the culture and education systems. The results from his study showed Canada coming out on top, and this motivated him towards immigrating to Canada. Soon enough, Jose made the decision to pack his bags and move.
Upon landing in Canada, Jose set himself the goal of securing employment as a Program Manager with a large organization in the GTA. As a highly accomplished professional in Mexico, he was confident that he would hit the ground running when he landed in Canada. Unfortunately, the life of an immigrant in a new country is a bit more complicated than that.
After landing and struggling to secure a good job, the depression started to kick in for Jose. “I was very depressed. If you want to get a good job and start where you left off, it is so so hard. It’s almost impossible”, says Jose. His Canadian dream met its reality check. After working with prestigious companies in Mexico City, Jose was forced to take up a job cleaning bus shelters in Toronto. This would have been enough to crush the morale of most people, but Jose says he chose to use this as a learning opportunity and did not lose hope or start to regret his decisions. “It was very hard, but I needed to find a way to survive here and keep walking” says Jose.
He continued working in that position, while simultaneously looking at opportunities to grow and develop his skill set in a Canadian context. That’s when Jose signed up for Humber’s OSLT program for newcomer Project Management professionals in a bid to improve his language skills and learn about the work culture in the field of Project Management in Canada. Simultaneously, he also registered with “The Mentoring Partnership” program at Humber Community Employment Services, which matches new immigrants to established professionals in the field of their professional experience. As a result, he was mentored by Edwin Jansen, Head of Sales and Marketing at Fitzii - a renowned recruiting software company.
Jose was very pleased with the mentor he was matched with. “My mentor Edwin understood me and knew all the specific gaps I needed to close. He always motivated me, even when I was sad in the mornings after cleaning the shelters” says Jose.
The constant motivation and follow up from Edwin played a huge part in Jose’s job search efforts. Soon the results were clearly visible as the interviews started rolling in for Jose. Edwin had encouraged Jose to go above and beyond in his efforts. As a result, Jose prepared comprehensive presentations for his interviews which impressed all his interviewers and set him apart from his competition. Suddenly, from having nothing, Jose was at a point where he had three different job offers to choose from. Each from some of the largest organizations in Canada, two of which were Canada’s biggest banking corporations. The third was for a Program Manager position at Chubb Edwards, one of the biggest names in security and safety solutions in Canada.
Jose consulted his mentor on which job offer to pick. He turned down offers from the banks because he was confident he could help take Chubb Edwards to a market leadership position. To him, that would be more meaningful than just a title and a comfortable salary.
Jose eventually took up the job at Chubb Edwards and he now reports directly to the CEO of the organization. By securing this position as Program Manager of Chubb Edwards, Jose managed to achieve the exact objective he had set for himself when he landed in Canada. The struggle had finally paid off. Jose sums it up by saying “I am happy now because I have achieved my dream”.
Perhaps most striking about Jose’s personality is his confidence. This confidence could easily have been dampened after having to start afresh in his job cleaning bus shelters. However he refused to give up and always believed in himself. That has made all the difference in his life. The difference between falling through the cracks and rising to the challenge. He remains deeply grateful for the service he received through Humber Community Outreach and Workforce Development, his mentor and the Mentoring Partnership. His advice for newcomers in a similar position to him? “Never give up, and be patient. Sooner or later you will get the job you are looking for.”
A program of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), the Mentoring Partnership brings together recent skilled immigrants and established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships. This program is delivered at Humber College through Humber Community Employment Services.
You too can become a Mentor and make a difference in a newcomer’s life.
Humber Community Employment Services is an Employment Ontario organization. These Employment Ontario services are funded in part by the Government of Canada.