When Mehul Patel decided he wanted to come to Canada to find work, he knew he needed to learn about the Canadian business environment.

That’s where the Settlement Online Pre-Arrival program helped. It’s a program provided in cooperation by the Catholic Centre for Immigrants in Ottawa and World Skills. The program, known as SOPA, is a virtual hub providing guidance and customized pre-employment supports designed to help newcomers find and retain employment in Canada.

Mehul was an IT Professional in India. Thanks to two courses he took through SOPA, he is now working as Projects and Account Manager at Vsourz Digital (a web design and e-commerce digital agency) in Toronto.

Before coming to Canada, he enrolled in SOPA’s Professional Communication program.

Caroline Purver, a Cultural Communications Facilitator with SOPA, said Mehul consistently showed a hard-working and positive attitude during the four-week course. He always went above and beyond for each assignment.

“Having witnessed his strong initiative and personable nature, I was not surprised to hear he was able to land a job in his field so soon after landing (in just over a month in fact!),” said Caroline.

Mehul says communication plays an important role in any workplace environment “and is also a key to unlock your career potential. I could guarantee SOPA knows this best as it has given me an opportunity to understand and improve my professional communication skills which I would never otherwise had a chance.”

When Mehul was in India taking the course online, he was able to remain in contact with his instructor in Canada. “It was all perfect for me – the course facilitator, the online system, the self-paced and assignment-based learning environment.”

He adds the course helped him immensely into integrating and adapting to the Canadian business environment. The course instilled in him a cultural awareness and taught him the essential skill of working with the culturally diverse set of people.

He says his current job requires him to connect and interact with new people, understand their needs, respond effectively, present solutions, and participate in group meetings. “I could see this course shaping and helping me at every stage of these interactions.”

He says he remains thankful to SOPA and to Caroline for “being an excellent facilitator, friend, and mentor throughout the journey.”