By Megan Russell

Do you remember looking for your first job? You might have felt nervous or frustrated as you spent hours perfecting your resume, writing cover letters and preparing for interviews.

Now imagine you are new to Ottawa and you need a job. You have limited to no Canadian experience and English isn’t your first language.

The employment program at the Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) helps newcomers find that all-important first job. We help newcomers understand Canadian work culture. We teach them the practical skills of creating or updating a resume, expanding their English vocabulary, preparing for interviews or job fairs, or simply adjusting to life in a new country.

Our employment program counsellors work one-on-one with individuals and families. Providing one-on-one support means different action plans can be created depending on the needs of the newcomers — everything from group style interviews to mock job fairs to field trips.

Ana, who specializes in helping young newcomers, says she helps youth learn more about their city and Canadian work culture; for example, work schedules, job duties, pay stubs and more.

So how do local businesses benefit? If you are an employer, you know how challenging it can be to find dedicated and reliable workers. You might be hesitant to hire a newcomer with little Canadian experience.

Ana and the employment team is here to help you! When you work with CCI, we pre-screen potential employees for you. “We introduce employers to the right candidate,” says Ana. “Now, they just need to be given the chance.”

When we send newcomers to you, we know they’re ready to take that next step and be a valuable employee for you.

When Neema moved to Canada, she was the youngest of three sisters with no work experience. At the young age of 18 she was uncertain about her job prospects in Canada.

“I didn’t have any work experience and I really needed help finding a job. I didn’t even know how to approach a manager, let alone find a job!”

When she joined the employment program, we worked with Neema to build her a basic resume to highlight her skills, involve her in volunteer opportunities, conduct mock interviews and invite her on field trips.

Neema participated in our six-week employment camp and the on-going employment program. Before she completed the camp, she landed a job. The program enabled her to become a confident and skilled individual while establishing herself as a proud immigrant to Canada.

And the employment services don’t stop there. After a newcomer finds a job, we follow up with them to help them adjust to any work culture issues. We also offer to work with the employer to help them understand some of the settlement issues that their new employee might be facing.

“[The program] is the best program for a newcomer who is eager to know more and gain Canadian experience.”

No matter who you are or what your business is, CCI has workers for you. Already we are partnered with locally owned businesses like Gooney’s and national businesses like Starbucks, IKEA, TD Bank, Food Basics, and Boston Pizza. CCI mentors and trains newcomers to become reliable and hardworking employees.

When newcomers arrive, they come with the drive to work hard, a desire to rebuild their lives and give back to their new community. They just need a chance.

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