A strong partnership between college and industry can lead to initiatives that are more responsive to labour-market trends and offers learners a fast-track to meaningful employment.
Humber College recognizes that employer partnerships play a vital role, not just in community development but also in supporting organizational competitiveness. This is a key feature of the partnership between SOTI Inc. and Humber’s IT bridging programs for internationally-trained professionals.
SOTI has hired multiple graduates from Humber’s .NET Developer bridging program which supports internationally-trained IT professionals to restart their careers in Canada.
We recently interviewed Kimberly Hogendoorn (Director of Global Recruitment and Employer Brand, SOTI) to reflect on this collaboration and to discuss immigrant inclusion in the workplace.
What motivates SOTI to recruit immigrants for its workforce?
At SOTI we're very proud to be a diverse and global organization. Our motivation for hiring immigrants to the workforce is simple: We’re a rapidly growing organization and we're driven to recognize and hire the best talent from around the world. So for us, it doesn't matter where the employee comes from. We’re focused on identifying and hiring the best talent.
What strategies does SOTI use to recruit, interview and inclusively onboard immigrant talent?
The People and Culture team at SOTI is a global function and we have a team of recruitment professionals, HR professionals as well as learning and development specialists who help SOTI hire across 12 offices around the world.
My team is actively involved in hiring from colleges and universities. One of the things that we're so proud of is our partnership with Humber College, especially the.Net program. We've been introduced to so many students from around the world, who have years of international work experience but who are now looking for their first Canadian employment opportunity.
We're also really proud that we won an “Employer of the Year” award with the.Net bridging program at Humber.
The onboarding experience is also very smooth. We work closely with HR partners, but also our hiring managers to make sure that from day one, there's is a first one-on-one meeting. Before COVID-19, this involved a welcome lunch with the teams to get to know them in person.
For us, it's important to make sure that the new hire always knows that they have someone - whether it's recruitment, or HR, or their buddy within their team - if they ever need extra support or advice. SOTI’s DNA is built around being one family. We are always there for one another.
Why did SOTI choose to hire students and graduates from Humber College?
We work with both bridging programs as well as a diploma program at Humber. Their level of commitment to the individual success of each student and also to their industry partners is remarkable. The relationship building and the events are so engaging and frequent, which gives us an opportunity to meet so many interesting and talented IT professionals.
It's not often you get invited to events that are free - and we love them! We try to attend every single one because we get one-on-one time with each of the students to look at the resumes and to hear about their experiences. When it comes to hiring Humber students, we see the quality and we see the talent that the students possess and demonstrate when we meet them at the recruiting events. Even when we've got a job to fill quickly, the whole experience has been fantastic.
I know right before COVID, we were at an event at Humber with the.NET bridging program and I met a student named Dami. He was actually a web developer and I was so impressed when he pulled up apps on his phone and websites that he had created within two days. We quickly arranged a meeting at the office between him and the Web Team Development Manager. The next day we gave him an offer and he started with us three days later!
What was your experience working with the Humber staff?
Well, first of all it's an absolute pleasure working with the staff from Humber. One of the things I should mention is that, very unique to the bridging programs at Humber, we get a batch of student resumes when they're preparing to graduate. That is really useful, so I can share them with the hiring managers. That's 30 potential people that they can look at right off the bat to say, “That looks great. Let's bring them in for an interview”, so that's a really nice added touch. Most career centers and universities don't do that.
What advice would you provide other Canadian employers interested in recruiting immigrant talent?
What I would say is, never close the door on talent. All it takes is a few minutes to spend looking at a resume and picking up the phone or meeting them in person. You really find amazing people from anywhere around the world. From my experiences working with Humber, we can be assured that “New to Canada” does not mean “No Experience” and we've just been blown away by the level of previous experience and skills that we have found again and again.
Just because someone doesn't have 'Canadian experience', it doesn't mean they're not going to make for an incredible member of your team or your organization. At SOTI, we know how to take that raw talent and develop them into seasoned Canadian IT professionals.
SOTI is the world’s most trusted provider of mobile and IoT management solutions, with more than 17,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide. SOTI’s innovative portfolio of solution and services provide the tools organizations need to truly mobilize their operations and optimize their mobility investments. SOTI extends secure mobility management to provide an integrated solution to manage and secure all mobile devices and connected peripherals in an organization. To learn more, visit www.soti.net.
Humber offers a 21-week bridging program for internationally trained IT professionals with education and experience in computer programming. This program is designed to provide participants with the advanced concepts, skills and the knowledge required to work as .NET Solutions Developers. Our graduates have secured jobs as Software Developers, Systems Programmers and Business Analysts within six months of graduation.
This bridging program is made available through funding from the Governments of Ontario and Canada.