Calgary immigrant job fair draws hundreds eager to connect
Some say having credentials recognized a challenge with Canadian employers
Sayyed Shah came to Canada from Pakistan about three months ago. As a trained accountant, he says having employers recognize his credentials has been a challenge.
"If you are looking for specific industry experience it's a little bit difficult if you don't have Canadian experience," Shah tells CBC News.
"I am looking for voluntary work just to get into the market. Once you have it on your resume you can go further up."
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He was hoping a job fair for immigrants in Calgary on Tuesday might be the place to make that connection.
And networking is what it's all about, says a fair organizer.
"It's about connections," Chris Thomas explained.
"How to find the right way to get into the market, how to find the right opportunities and have the ability to talk to people."
Thomas said the fair is more than just job openings.
There were also community organizations, schools and people to help with credential recognition.
Grace Ohi came down with no preconceived notions but with hope.
"This is my first career fair so I hope I get something," Ohi said.
"I think for now because of the economic downturn I think there are not many job opportunities out there. I guess most people are doing the survival jobs, as they call it."
Katherina Otomewo arrived in Canada three years ago and moved to Calgary from Ontario in 2014.
"My husband works in the oil industry, that's why we chose Calgary," Otomewo said.
Her children are now old enough that she feels she can juggle family life with a paid position. She too, is struggling with having credentials from another country recognized.
"When you come here you find out most things are less than what you expect as a professional," Otomewo said.
"That is the challenging thing about it."
She says she has friends who end up taking positions that are less challenging.
"That is the number one shock about it. A lot of people do a career change."
Organizer Thomas, meanwhile, says fairs like this can be a place to start.
"There are a lot of jobs out there," he said.
"It is really a question for a lot of people about finding the work, seeking the opportunities … so hopefully with an event like this, it gives that opportunity for somebody to make that connection and help get them moving on their way."
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With files from Monty Kruger