Exploring a Job Fair for Skilled Newcomers

publication1On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to represent WoodGreen by attending a job fair in Mississauga. This job fair was organized by Acces Employment, a member agency of CASIP (Consortium of Agencies Serving Internationally-Trained Persons). CASIP is a consortium of independent, community-based agencies and colleges who deliver employment and training services to skilled immigrant job seekers and to employers. The fair was designed to attract and support highly skilled newcomer professionals, including Syrian refugees. 

Access and CASIP invited other member agencies to attend this job fair, with the goal of giving service providers an opportunity to meet with job seekers and share with them information about available programs and activities. The CASIP booth was focused on helping to support attendees in their search for employment in Canada, via mentorships, workshops and various trainings. Member agencies in attendance included: WoodGreen Community Services’ Newcomer Services unit, Acces Employment, COSTI, College Boreal, Humber College, Job Start, JVS Toronto, Job Skills, MicroSkills, Skills for Change, and Seneca College. I was fortunate enough to spend some time chatting with the representatives from some of these agencies to learn more about their programs, and hear about their successes.

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Local employers, from across the Greater Toronto Area who are looking to hire newcomers, were very busy during the fair. Employers featured yesterday, at the Living Arts Centre, included: KPMG, RBC, Scotiabank, Sunlife Financial, Shoppers Drug Mart, City Sightseeing Toronto, and Belair Direct. In total there were 40 employers. It was very promising to see the number of employers available to receive resumes, speak to these professionals, and advise them on opportunities within their companies.

I was immediately blown away by the number of people who attended the job fair. It was estimated that over 300 people attended this 3 hour event. I met with countless newcomers and internationally trained professionals, all eagerly looking for meaningful employment opportunities in Canada. They were from all over the world with a wide variety of skills and experiences. To name a few, I met with individuals from Bangladesh, Brazil, Nigeria, China, California, and Syria. The energy was incredibly powerful.

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As I wondered through the rows and the crowds of people waiting to meet employers, I was taken aback by the conversations I overheard. People sharing their experiences in looking for work, in taking courses to further their career, and sharing what motivated them to attend the fair. Even though the lines were long, the job seekers were so professional and showed such confidence when greeted by the employers. They definitely knew what they were doing! It was very encouraging to see their motivation, and see a reflection of how employment support agencies can prepare newcomers to be ready for their job search.

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I cannot thank the organizers and sponsors, including Toronto Pearson, enough for providing this event, and for encouraging and supporting newcomers to Canada. Newcomers face a variety of challenges when they immigrate to a new country. Having the opportunity to attend a job fair and meet employers in their field may help to alleviate some of the stress, allow them to build new connections, and inform them of immigrant serving agencies in their areas!

I look forward to hearing the feedback from those who attended. I wish nothing but the best for all the job seekers in attendance!

Have you attended a job fair? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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