Organization supplies services for updating of resumés, training and connecting with employers

April 19, 2010
Toronto Star

Emily Mathieu

For highly skilled immigrants, finding the right job in Canada is a great deal more complicated than having the required practical experience.

“Here in Canada you can only continue your career if you are going to upgrade or get a licence,” said Claire Arenajo, an account manager with RBC Royal Bank.

“For a newly landed immigrant to get a licence is difficult because you are in a new country and you are establishing yourself and spending your own money.”

Arenajo was born in the Philippines, where she worked in banking for more than 20 years. She immigrated with her family in February 2009 and shortly after she arrived attended an employment conference for new immigrants interested in securing work in Canada.

That was where she met a representative from ACCES Employment, an organization that helps new immigrants upgrade their resumes, take courses, improve their skills and connect with employers.

Through ACCES she was connected with RBC. She started her position on March 15 and is one of more than 100 new immigrants RBC has hired, over the last three years, in partnership with ACCES.

Susan J. Hawkins, manager, recruitment Greater Toronto Region, said RBC hosts three information events a year at the ACCES offices where they meet with program participants.

Hiring skilled new immigrants, she said, is a part of the bank’s strategy to attract and maintain an increasingly diverse client base.

“One of the things that is important to us is we look to our branches to reflect the market they support,” said Hawkins.

“We are positioning the role. We are promoting it. We are looking for talent.”

Hawkins said they do most of their hiring with a focus on the account manager role, but are flexible.

“If we have someone there whose skills and competencies would be a better fit for another role we explore those as well,” she said.

Arenajo, 44, moved to Canada with her husband and two children, now aged 18 and 12.

They wanted a better life for their family, improved educational options for their children and an opportunity to be immersed in a diverse culture, said Arenajo.

“This is a really unique country, to be honest it is an adventure for me and my family,” she said.

After she connected with ACCES, Arenajo was placed in a three-week program to upgrade her resumé and get guidance on how to enter financial services in Canada.

In the Philippines resumés are often longer than two pages. It is mandatory, there, to include age and marital status, a photo and character references, she said.

She was also started on the Canadian Securities Course, mandatory for Canadians working in many areas of financial services. ACCES gave her the books and paid for the fee. Her three-week course also included lectures and important notes for the CSC exam. The connection with ACCES was invaluable, she said.

“With ACCES Employment, we have the opportunity to have a face-to-face encounter,” she added

Arenajo’s first job in Canada was in a factory. She studied the CSC courses in her off-time. Once the course was completed, she took a four-month contract with CIBC as an investment adviser.

Shortly after she signed the contract RBCcame knocking. She connected with RBC when her CIBC contract was up.

Arenajo said now that she has secured her position, her husband is going to upgrade his skills. He is working in maintenance in government buildings, she said.

“Right now he is enjoying his job, but his profession is in the medical field,” said Arenajo. Her husband is trained as a medical technician.

Their plan was to tackle their careers one at a time.

“I got to start,” she said.


Reference: Toronto Star