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Friday, October 22, 2021
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Diversity

Why should newcomers be connected to mentorship programs?

When immigrants come to Canada, they bring education, skills and, many of them, years of work in their profession. However, their lack of Canadian credentials and work experience makes it challenging for them to enter the labour market. Some newcomers are fortunate to find jobs in their field but not at a level commensurate with their previous positions. The lack of a professional network and information makes it difficult for immigrants to improve their skills and progress to better jobs. It’s important to make newcomers aware of mentorship programs as this type of support can be just what they need to advance in their careers.

Mentorship provides tools to achieve career success

Mentorship not only provides immigrants with the information needed to find a job or navigate the Canadian workplace, it’s also crucial for career development. When professionals want to move their career forward, growing and learning are part of the process they need to go through.

A mentorship relationship helps jobseekers develop communication skills, learn from others and contemplate different ways of approaching situations. It’s also a great way to meet other people working in the same field and find out about events, certifications and programs essential to growing in their careers.

When an immigrant has a mentor, they also benefit from the mentor’s network. Making new connections is a great way to find a job, and a simple introduction from a mentor can help newcomers access information and resources that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

Mentorship helps bring down barriers to career success by ensuring immigrants have the support, knowledge and inspiration to achieve their goals. Without a doubt, by reaching out to a mentor for personal development, immigrants will gain a better understanding of their field.

Other ways to find a mentor

Although formal mentorship programs offer great benefits, immigrants can also look for informal mentors in many different places. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s possible to learn from anyone who has insights to offer.

A casual conversation can turn into further dialogue and discovering how an inspiring individual can provide helpful information. Immigrants can also approach others to gain insight into their professional lives and “pick their brains.”

“Mentorship helps bring down barriers to career success by ensuring immigrants have the support, knowledge and inspiration to achieve their goals.”

Networking events are good places to discuss the latest trends and the job market with other participants as well as to meet prospective mentors.

Joining a professional association is a great way to connect with the newcomer’s industry. It provides access to networking events, job postings, and also professional development and mentoring opportunities.

Tips for a successful mentorship relationship

To develop a successful and productive formal or informal mentorship relationship, there are some things immigrants should keep in mind. Mentees should be clear about what they’re looking for. This way, mentors can target their advice and provide the assistance they need.

  • Have a clear purpose and set up specific goals.
  • Define mutual benefits.
  • Set up an agenda.
  • Have constant communication.
  • Be an active participant.
  • Be committed.
Additional benefits for mentors and mentees

Mentors are essential to mentees’ success, and they help them keep perspective and focus on the next steps. They expose mentees to opportunities aligned with their interests and connect them with their network.

Mentees build soft skills and confidence throughout this relationship and receive information about certifications, licensing and educational requirements in their professional field.

Although mentees are the ones who benefit from a mentorship relationship the most, mentors also benefit from this experience. They hone leadership, coaching, listening, decision-making and critical-thinking skills. In addition, mentees share skills and knowledge from their personal and professional experiences, which they can learn from.

“Being a mentor also is a learning opportunity for me. Often mentees have ideas and ways of doing things that are new to me. It’s a two-way relationship. We both benefit because there is always constant learning for me, which is helpful to guide potential mentees,” indicates Mayo Akindele, a supply chain professional from Nigeria.

Finally, mentorship is an enriching experience for both mentors and mentees. Mentors provide advice, support and encouragement, while mentees increase career preparation and advancement. This relationship offers value to both mentors and mentees, and newcomers should take advantage of it. Making newcomers aware of mentorship programs is a great way to support them to advance in their careers in Canada.

Margarita Arbelaez holds a master’s degree in corporate communications and works as a communications specialist at Windmill Microlending. Originally from Colombia, Margarita uses storytelling to build awareness of the life-changing work and the impact her organization has on the lives of newcomers.
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Margarita Arbelaez holds a master’s degree in corporate communications and works as a communications specialist at Windmill Microlending. Originally from Colombia, Margarita uses storytelling to build awareness of the life-changing work and the impact her organization has on the lives of newcomers.