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It has become a heart-warming tradition of Ashton College to lend a helping hand to Canadian newcomers who strive for a successful career in a new country. Many of them come to Canada, armed with reputable credentials and years of experience, only to realize that their expertise is not always valued enough by local employers, and they have to start their careers all over again. With the Bursaries for Immigrants, offered by Ashton College and Canadian Immigrant magazine, the newcomers can get Canadian credentials they require to enter the workforce successfully.
Ashton College Bursaries for Immigrants are aimed to address the challenges that newcomers face in their new country, lacking local credentials and work experience that can impede their employment. Professional career-ready education will allow them to adjust their knowledge and expertise to Canadian standards and secure a stable employment.
The bursaries are offered every year to newcomers who would like to take full-time diploma programs at Ashton College in business, immigration, human resources, finances, international trade and other professional fields. Ashton College Bursaries for Immigrants are a great solution for those people who have recently immigrated to Canada and would like to go back to school to upgrade their skills and credentials but struggle with finances. The main goal of the project is to empower the immigrants with career-ready education and to facilitate their pathway into the Canadian job market.
Ashton College Bursaries for Immigrants winners in 2018 are Onyinye Adibe and Kathrin Phong.
Onyinye came to Canada after having completed her education as a Bachelor of Science in Public Health in Nigeria and having worked for two years in the health sector. She thought of Vancouver as of the right place to achieve her life dreams and she believed that in order to be successful in a new country she needed a good education, an ability to work hard and a willpower to remain focused on her goals. It seemed to Onyinye that she was embarking on an exciting journey to her career success.
However, when Onyinye actually came to Canada she realized she wasn’t well-prepared for the challenges that awaited her in the adopted country. “How was I to know that my proficiency in the English language would be called to question due to the ‘accent’, or that one of the reasons why a prospective employer would turn down my job application would not be the lack of the required skills but the fact that I don’t have the ‘Canadian experience’. In fact, there were myriads of ‘how was I to know’.”
It’s Onyinye’s own experience as a Canadian immigrant that influenced her decision to enroll in the Immigration Consultant Diploma program at Ashton College. Onyinye says that her career goal is to go beyond helping people to immigrate into Canada. She has a dream of partnering with settlement agencies to facilitate her future clients’ application, arrival, integration and cultural assimilation. “This will better prepare an average immigrant and will help him or her navigate the ‘complex’ Canadian system.”
Having worked in mental health and community support, Onyinye knows first-hand how new immigrants struggle to settle in their new country and how the challenges they have to overcome on a daily basis impact their mental health. In order to help her future clients gain the confidence, she has an idea to run pre-arrival and upon-arrival information sessions providing the clients with all necessary resources and valuable advice. Onyinye says, “This career path will give me a sense of purpose and will empower me financially that concurs with my Canadian dream of fulfilment, community involvement and self-reliance.”
Kathrin is a new Canadian immigrant with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from Australia, a Master’s Degree in International Management from the UK and a vast working experience in human resources management on various levels. Nonetheless, she realizes that despite her solid credentials the lack of Canadian education and work experience can be a barrier to the success on the local job market.
“Moreover, I think that in order to work well in HR in Canada, it’s important to understand the Canadian/ provincial labour and legal framework not to mention the common HR practices. Taking a Human Resources Management Diploma program would definitely provide me with knowledge of this field, making me more marketable and more confident when applying for HR jobs,” says Kathrin.
Kathrin thinks that her challenges are very much similar to those of other people who just immigrated to a new country, such as finding employment, building a network, starting a new life from scratch with so many new things to learn and to get used to. “But most importantly, for me, it’s a challenge on a personal level as I decided to leave my comfort zone in my home country Vietnam to immigrate to Canada. It’s a challenge to really integrate into Canadian culture and society; hopefully, I will be able to find that sense of belonging and truly call Canada my second home one day.”
Kathrin feels grateful for the bursary given by Ashton College as it will not only help ease up the financial stress but will also equip her with a certificate in HR allowing her to find a suitable HR job and ultimately to achieve her career goal in Canada. “My career goal is to develop my skills to become the best HR professional that I could possibly be and to make a positive impact on organizations, communities and people on a larger scale.”