Off to a Good Start
Finding a job can be frustrating and intimidating for most. Now imagine going through that whole process in a foreign country.
Manitoba Start is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba that connects businesses with potential employees as well as provides career development services for newcomers.
According to the Manitoba Start website, “each year, over 6,000 newcomers from more than 120 countries visit Manitoba Start to connect to settlement, orientation, language and employment services.”
Many newcomers are internationally educated professionals or skilled workers, and Manitoba Start provides valuable services to help them find sustainable employment.
James Black, Principal and Interactive Director at Relish, heard about the program through an employee and after looking into it further, decided this was something of interest. “We liked the idea of a longer internship and the fact the candidate was compensated (by Manitoba Start),” says James, “The length of the internship gave us enough time to fully evaluate the potential employee and see how they best fit our team.”
On November 17, 2018, Silky Sheen arrived in Manitoba from India. She had completed her Masters of Computer Applications and was working as a web designer and developer for four years before moving to Canada.
“It was always my father’s dream for me to move to Canada,” recalls Silky. “One day, my brother-in-law advised me there are opportunities for me to work in the IT field in Canada. I have relatives who had been living in Winnipeg for ten years, so I decided to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and start the paperwork to come to Canada.”
Upon landing in Winnipeg, Silky immediately started applying for jobs but didn’t receive any responses due to her lack of experience in Canada. It was during this time that her relative suggested she look into Manitoba Start. “I was told that Manitoba Start was a place for beginners to start a new life in Canada. They would help me settle, bridge job opportunities in addition to providing basic training for skills such as resume building, interview, basic English and Canadian culture,” says Silky.
After completing all the training sessions available to her, Silky’s career coach sent her resume to several agencies for a six-week internship. She was given an interview at Relish and with her newly acquired skills, started on an eight-week internship.
Silky started her internship on February 4, 2019, and settled in naturally with the rest of the team. She was eager to bring her knowledge to the table and brought a unique skill set to the development team. Silky was eventually offered a full-time position as a web developer.
“It is hard to find a job in another country where you don’t know anything about the work culture and people, that’s why I was so happy when I got the job offer,” says Silky. “I am very thankful for Relish, who took the time to understand me and gave me this opportunity to work for them full time.”
The management team feels a similar sentiment, “Having Silky onboard fulltime has been great, she has a strong work ethic and has used her skills to its fullest while working on projects. She is a vocal member of our development team and excellent at solving problems,” says James.
When asked if they would recommend Manitoba Start to others in similar positions (both as a newcomer and an employer), James and Silky are quick to respond with a resounding “yes!”