LEARN WHILE YOU WORK It is often difficult for newcomers to Canada to find a job. You sometimes think that if you could just show employers that you are a good worker, they would give you a chance. There is a way for you to do that. Some agencies offer co-op or internship programs for newcomers. Co-op is short for “cooperative”, which means “working together”. An intern is an “advanced student gaining supervised practical experience in the workplace”. These programs give you a chance to learn a new job by actually working at that job, usually for no or very little income. You may think that you cannot afford to work for free, but if you can manage to survive for a little while, this experience can pay off. Along with gaining Canadian work experience, you will learn valuable skills and get an inside view of the industry in which you are trying to find employment. You can network with people in the field (networking is a word for getting to know people), so that if the company you are working for does not hire you, your co-workers may recommend you for another job in the industry. Your temporary employer will probably give you a letter of reference, which is a very good tool for finding another job. The Working Centre’s Job Development program offers a four-month paid internship program that aims to help newcomers gain the Canadian work experience that is often required by potential employers. The Practice Firm also helps jobless individuals gain work experience; however, this is not paid. For more information and referral you can come to the YMCA’s Newcomer Employment Centre (519-579-9622 extension 244). Even if you cannot get into the Internship program or the Practice Firm, there are other ways you can gain Canadian experience. Volunteering is an excellent way for newcomers to gain experience and learn about Canadian culture. A volunteer is a person who works for no pay, usually helping out at non-profit agencies that need all the help they can get in order to help other people. Volunteering allows you to use whatever skills you already have while learning new ones. You will probably have to speak English, which is good practice. You will get a chance to network with fellow volunteers, some of whom may even work in your field. You will gain practical experience working in your new country. And volunteer work looks good on a résumé, showing that you care and are willing to donate your time and skill to a worthwhile cause. Good Luck!
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