Securing a job in a new country is not an easy task for any newcomer, but help along the way can make finding fruitful work a little less challenging. Volunteer mentors at TRIEC Mentoring Partnership hope to make the newcomer’s employment journey a bit easier and that mentoring has a positive ripple effect in the Greater Toronto Area as a whole.
To find out what’s involved in mentoring, and the impact it has, we asked Ria Madan, Director, Vendor Transition Management Office at Manulife and mentor at TRIEC Mentoring Partnership and two of her newcomer mentees Banke Orimolade and Tapangshu Das, to share their stories in a two-part blog series.
The first, features Banke and Tapangshu, as they explain how mentoring helped them navigate their way to successful work in Canada.
About the newcomer mentees:
Banke Orimolade is a legal practitioner specializing in corporate and commercial law, with a focus on contracts and corporate governance. She works for BMO as Senior Law Clerk, Subsidiary Governance Group, and immigrated to Canada from Nigeria in 2017. She holds a Masters in law from King College University of London, UK. She was introduced to her mentor, Ria Madan in October 2018 through TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, in the course of her bridging program with Acces Employment.
Tapangshu Das has spent many years working in the field of technology and project management. Prior to his current role as an Insurance Specialist at Royal Bank of Canada, he worked with multinational companies including Accenture. He holds a MBA in Finance and Marketing. He was connected with his mentor, Ria Madan, through TRIEC Mentoring Partnership in June 2018 as part of his bridging program with Acces Employment.
Q) What kind of challenges did you face when you were looking for a job?
Banke: I didn’t have a law degree from Canada when I moved here while I held a Masters in law from the UK. However, getting my license to practice in Ontario helped alleviate this challenge, of not having Canadian education. My other initial challenges included a lack of Canadian work experience, a weaker network here and enough information of various professional options in my field.
Tapangshu: I had issues in networking. My skill sets also were not well recognized as they were contextually different in Canada, as compared to my country of origin.
Q) How did mentoring help you with finding your job in Canada?
Banke: Hearing my mentor Ria’s experience was encouraging, as looking for a job for an extended period can be frustrating and stressful. She also connected me with her network which was very useful. Knowing that there was someone I could reach out to anytime I had questions or an interview was reassuring.
My learning from Ria made me realize the importance of networking and following up. I made sure to follow up with everyone I connected professionally via email or LinkedIn. Ria introduced me to one of her mentees who was working in the corporate governance space as well. Based on that introduction, and my following up with the mentee, I was able to get my current position when a job opened up in that department.
Tapangshu: Mentoring was great, as my mentor Ria connected me to multiple people and I got really good advice. It helped me understand the market and position my resume accordingly. [Through the mentoring partnership], I was able to understand the value of certifications; it led me to complete a few relevant certifications which helped me to get my first job.
Q) What advice would you give to a new mentee about how to make the most of the mentoring relationship?
Banke: Be open minded towards advice from your mentor. Make the best use of the opportunity. If you have questions, reach out to the mentor. Make the best use of every introduction that your mentor opens up to you. Keep in mind that follow-ups are important.
Tapangshu: Focus on your strengths and experience. Understand where you fit with existing skills. Don’t have very high expectations. Focus on getting the first job and the Canadian experience. Things will get much better after 1 year.
Q) Do you have a message for your mentor?
Banke: Thank you Ria for your engagement and commitment from day one. Your willingness to open your network to me and respond to all my questions and requests are all very much appreciated.
Tapangshu: I can’t thank my mentor, Ria, enough. She has gone the extra mile to help me. She is a fantastic human being. I am still in touch with her and she is still helping me in different aspects.
Read Banke and Tapangshu’s mentor Ria Madan’s story in the second part of the blog.