“Arriving in a country as a newcomer feels like being an undercover agent – nobody knows you.” Mauricio Morales says of his experience moving to Canada.

Mauricio Morales took part in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership in mid-2017 after moving to Canada from Colombia. With an extensive background in the medical and biopharmaceutical industries, he and his family moved to Mississauga, where many of the companies in his sector have their Canadian headquarters.

While he and his wife had already experienced relocating to a new country it was their first time moving to a new country where they had no family connections. They had previously lived in Australia a decade earlier, as Mauricio’s wife had family there. After three years, they moved home to Colombia, planning to stay for a just a few years, but ended up staying for eight or nine. During that time, their Australian permanent residency expired.

When they came to Canada, they didn’t know anyone outside of some professional connections Mauricio had through previous employers.

Even with extensive experience and great education, Mauricio was frustrated by his job search. What he really needed was an ally to keep his spirits up. It was at this time he discovered TRIEC Mentoring Partnership through Sheridan College. Janet Gaffney, the mentoring coach at Sheridan, connected him with his mentor Geoff Lillico.

“Geoff was very easy going and supportive,” says Mauricio, “He connected me with people he knew, who connected me with more people. It was through these connections that I grew my network and learned the ins-and-outs to refine my CV for Canadian audiences. I connected to my current boss at Alexion Pharma through a professional connection I had made in a past role, prior to arriving in Canada.”

Still, it took time the role to materialize. Anyone who has searched for a professional job, or has hired, knows there’s a process that can sometimes take months when you factor in all the steps and setbacks that can occur. During this time Geoff continued to help Mauricio stay focused and positive – even when he decided to take a job in warehouse logistics for a medical supply company. He met more people there, and within a month they realized he’d understated his qualifications.

This revelation led to a discussion with management, who were open to giving him opportunities to grow his contribution beyond the role for which he was hired. This kept him engaged and active for the 13 months until he was hired in his current role.

Mauricio’s top piece of advice for newcomer professionals is that networking is paramount – “It’s what will land you in a job,” he says. “As with anywhere in the world, it’s more likely that someone will hire who they know, or who comes recommended.”

This is the strength of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, and the connections it helps form.

He added that it’s important to prepare yourself financially and emotionally before coming here. “It will happen, but it might take time. Some people are lucky and find a job in 3 months. Others take 3 years,” Mauricio says.

Mentors like Geoff Lillico, and our partners have allowed TRIEC Mentoring Partnership to help over 17,500 newcomer professionals reconnect with their careers in Canada. If you’re looking for a flexible way to volunteer that allows you to make a difference in the lives of experienced professionals like Mauricio, sign up at mentoringpartnership.ca.