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Damian Vidal – Field Services Specialist, Jolera Inc.

Where did you move to Canada from? What was your profession back home?

I moved to Canada in March of 2018. I am originally from Barbados where I worked as an IT Manager and consultant for about 8 years.

Did you face any difficulties adjusting to life in Canada?

Like many others, I have felt the resistance of employers to hire immigrants without Canadian experience. I started my job search as soon as I got confirmation that I would be coming to Canada. I set up profiles on LinkedIn and Indeed and used these platform to apply for several jobs from back home. I was able to get a few interviews closer to my arrival time and this reinforced that some of the techniques I used were working even if the outcome was not successful.

Once I arrived here, I continued on that path by applying for maybe 5 – 10 jobs a week but with little success. I customized my resume for each job, went to networking events, took advantage of various opportunities through different settlement agencies and made contact with a few recruiters. It took a lot of effort and time, and it felt like I must be missing something. I would later realise that even if you do everything “right” there is definitely an element of timing as well when it comes to recruitment cycles and job searching.

Why did you choose Humber?

After exploring my options for academic programs, I decided on Humber for a few reasons. The courses offered in the IT Infrastructure bridging program were in my areas of interest. I had been working in the systems and networking area for years, but never pursued any certifications in that area. This program provided that opportunity, and allowed me to add to my resume a Canadian course of study at a prestigious academic institution.

How did Humber help you land your current job?

One thing that sets the Humber program apart was the career development course. More than the technical courses, this had the biggest impact on my success. In addition to the resume writing and job search techniques, our Career Planning professor, Shashi, facilitated a place to share experiences and learn from past and present participants. Undoubtedly, this improved our ability to navigate all aspects of the job search. I also got great support from the Job Developer, Kim, who provided individual support, and access to job opportunities we might not otherwise have had.

The key point for me was a networking event that was organised specifically for our program. This was an opportunity to network and chat with several employers in the industry and was where I met representatives from Jolera. A few weeks after that event I started at Jolera as a Field Services Specialist in their Service delivery department. As a supplement or replacement for internal IT staff, I work face to face with clients to provide technology systems support, in and around downtown Toronto. Working primarily with Microsoft and Vmware environments to resolve user issues and backend maintenance of hosted and virtualised server environments, WANs, WLANs and LANs.

How does it feel to have restarted your career in Canada?

I certainly feel grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had since relocating here. A primary reason for my move to Canada was the opportunity to expand on the career I had built over the last decade. Toronto specifically, continues to grow as a hub for technology companies and I intend to capitalize on the opportunity to work with great companies and professionals. I am thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far, and for the continued support of the Humber faculty members from the bridging program.

What advice would you give to other newcomers in a similar position?

Thankfully, I’ve not had many bad experiences here. Of course, moving and becoming comfortable in a new place with a different culture is itself a challenge. However, Toronto seems to add to that with its impressive diversity of cultures, densely packed into the city. One of my earliest goals was to understand the different cultural areas and navigating around Toronto. Coming from a much smaller country, it was quite confusing to navigate at times, but I fully enjoyed learning about the different cultures and did not mind getting lost every now and then. Now, I travel around the city a lot for work and leisure so it really paid off.

I’ve also had to become accustomed to the speed of everything, in and out of the workplace. I’ve seen the importance of being clear about what you want, so that when opportunities present themselves you can be ready to evaluate them and make the right decisions. Going through the Humber Bridging program helped to do that by providing me with the tools to create things like elevator pitches, professional SWOT analysis and of course helping to refine my resume the “Canadian” way.

About the IT Infrastructure Bridging Program:

Humber’s IT Infrastructure Bridging Program is a 15-week program for newcomers to Canada with education and experience in information technology, computer science or engineering (computer, electronics or electrical).

The IT Infrastructure Bridging Program is made available through funding from the Government of Ontario.

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