I returned to the workforce after 10 years of unemployment! It is never too late for those who have dreams to work hard.
I immigrated to Canada over ten years and I was a project manager before that in China. To make ends meet, I worked a job I was overqualified for my English was not great.
At the beginning of 2021, I felt I needed to change - I consulted Cathy, a senior career consultant at PIONEER EDUCATION CONSULTING. After understanding my work background, she gave me pertinent suggestions. She recommended that I study SAP supply chain management courses and introduced me to affiliated schools. I mastered the background configuration of SAP, its business applications, and I quickly found a customer service and transportation work right after graduation. Now, I am once again a project manager with my background in SAP, after 10 years of working odd jobs. This is something I didn't think of when I was studying. All this happened slowly from the time I decided to explore.
I paid for school out-of-pocket and attended class during evenings because I still worked during the day. At the beginning of my study, I was unclear about my employment situation; I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile to spend that much money on education. In hindsight, I realize that none of my efforts went to waste - systematic learning is still essential. Education opens doors and improves your self-confidence. It is never too late to start to change, as long as you take the first step and work towards a goal. When the opportunity comes, you will be ready to seize it! Thanks to PIONEER EDUCATION CONSULTING for providing me with clear career counselling and continuous encouragement in this journey.
How I gained "re-employment" as a new immigrant
The problem most immigrants face when they first arrive in Canada is employment. From doctors to engineers, university professors to senior executives - those accreditations and prestigious positions once enviable in our home countries often don't transfer over in Canada. I, too, wondered, "how do find a job in Canada? What industry is the most employable in Canada?" On these topics, we interviewed Ms. Cathy from PIONEER EDUCATION CONSULTING.
The "old problem" for new immigrants: re-employment
Reporter: Many new immigrants face the problem of re-employment after coming to Canada. How do you help new immigrants solve this problem?
Cathy: Re-employment is a problem new immigrants face after landing in Canada. No matter how highly educated and experienced you have been in China, everything needs to start from scratch when you arrive in Canada.
I have met many new and old immigrants, one couple impressed me deeply: they are 50-year-olds who were both highly educated in China. Mary and her husband came to Canada over ten years ago. Due to their poor language skills and lack of Canadian diplomas, they settled for non-professional labour jobs, from working at factories and beading and embroidering at wedding dress shops. They lived frugally and worked difficult hours to support their children's schooling. After a long time, the so-called warm water boiled the frog: slowly, the old couple became content with the current situation of working as labourers.
In contrast, Donna and his wife, who landed in Canada along with Mary, did not rush to find a job after arriving but instead enrolled in school. Mary did not understand her friends' practices and felt like they were wasting time and money ("we're not young anymore, domestic students have college degrees and are more competitive, there is no need to study again!"). Mary realized her idea was wrong when her employer deliberately forced her to resign without reason. Mary had found PIONEER CONSULTING after losing her family's source of income.
On the other hand, Donna and his wife invested heavily in their education and learned fluent English. After ten years of effort, they are still working stable jobs and their lives are improving! Marry regrets how she didn't pursue school earlier, and how she was too short-sighted at her immediate income. Mary felt like she was stuck with an income and quality of life that decline with age!
Reporter: That is to say, for new immigrants, you suggest that we should read before employment, right?
Cathy: I want to use Mary's example to remind many new immigrants that career planning needs to be considered in the long run, not just for immediate interests. We should make a long-term plan for ourselves, which is essential to re-employment! Our job is to help them understand the Canadian employment market, know their interests and directions, and reposition themselves in an all-around way based on their previous domestic work experience to find their professional vocation. Both men and women are afraid of entering the wrong profession. You can enter the Canadian workplace more smoothly by choosing a career direction that suits you.
Applying for a government education subsidy:
Reporter: Many new immigrants who want to study choose to work jobs anyways due to financial pressure: do you have any suggestions for these immigrants?
Cathy: Many new immigrants are unfamiliar with Canada's education policies. Ontario currently has many vocational education and training funding programs to encourage everyone to find work, such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) which is set up specifically for low-income people, and the Second Career program mainly supports the education and training of the unemployed (this is eligible for those who have been laid off, ended a contract, or because of maternity leave). Those who leave the company on sick leave can also apply if they do not have satisfactory jobs. These government-funded projects provide tuition assistance and living allowance in many cases. The maximum support for Second Career projects can be as high as $28,000.
Reporter: With this subsidy, I believe it can help many new immigrant friends or unemployed people ease the pressure of life during their studies! However, do these government subsidies need to be repaid after graduation?
Cathy: It depends on the situation. If it is a Second Career project, it usually does not need to be repaid. For the OSAP program for low-income people, the government will assess the repayment amount according to the family income status. Generally, low-income families can apply for many credits, which can also relieve tuition. If you are interested, contact PIONEER EDUCATION CONSULTING and we'll provide you with a free evaluation and consultation to see which projects you are eligible for!
Reporter: Speaking of school, many people are confused about what major they should choose to find jobs easily?
Cathy: The Canadian government has provided many job market research reports on professional employment prospects, such as the Canadian government's labour information website, www.labourmarketinformation.ca. Currently, technical or medical-related majors are more suitable for new immigrants, such as software engineers in the computer, software testing (QA), network administration in network management, registered massage therapists (RMT), PSW, etc. In addition, majors with licenses, such as paralegal and RMT, have higher entry barriers, so it it necessary to complete school and get licensed.
Reporter: What are some advice you'd give to our new immigrant friends who are figuring out their career direction?
Cathy: As an immigrant, when I first came here, my language ability was poor, and I didn't have local education and work experience, which became an obstacle in my career development! We should be prepared to face difficulties but not be discouraged easily. We should take a long-term view and make a sustainable career plan.
Reporter: OK, thank you for your analysis! If you want to discuss the topic of career planning further, you can contact PIONEER EDUCATION CONSULTING.
My successful appeal after countless rejections
After having my child, I stayed home for five years living off of my maternity leave fund. After my child was old enough to stay at a daycare, I wanted to find a day job but because I had been out of the workforce for so long, it was impossible. I had no updated knowledge of the market, no local diploma.
With the recommendation of a friend, I applied for government funding for free secondary education in July 2018 with the help of Pioneer Education Consulting. I walked into their office with a skeptical attitude and wondered if they could help me - I had asked several schools before, all of which told me that I do not meet the requirements for application. After talking with Frank, a senior consultant at Pioneer, his rich experience and confidence gave me great confidence. Besides, the service is free, so why not try it? In this way, I began to apply for financial aid.
Cynthia of Pioneer also gave me great help. They helped me prepare for the interview smoothly with carefully prepared materials, patient interview coaching, and various tedious tips. On the first try, I was rejected because the government had said my maternity leave was too long to qualify for the application. But then, Cathy found that the government had made a mistake! Cathy then wrote me a letter of appeal.
Two weeks later, I finally got a letter from the government. It said that the approval authority made a mistake, and my appeal letter won! I got the tuition and living expenses of the second vocational training program of my dream! I'm so happy! I don't know how to thank the employees and consultants who helped me in this journey. I'm so grateful for their professionalism, patience, and responsible attitude - I am excited to start a new life with free tuition and financial aid! I sincerely hope that PIONEER can help more immigrants like me!
I found hope in despair
When I came to Pioneer Education Consulting," it was the lowest moment of my life. I had no job, no income, and no direction. Life was like a movie, with always ups and downs. I used to be a civil servant in China, I was always a leader with a stable income and a good life. My wife and I immigrated to Canada to start a new life with better air quality, food, and education for our children.
It's not easy for first-generation immigrants to survive in Canada! In the beginning, I worked various labour jobs, and my wife and I began working in property management for different office buildings after several years. Although it is physically tiring, the income was stable. Life was getting better! Until one day I was seriously injured in a workplace accident that knocked me unconscious: I was told my back and waist were damaged, that I needed to rest for a year, and I couldn't work. I fell back into despair.
In the following year, I lived on government subsidies, and in the end, the monthly offerings were only dozens of yuan. I was over 40 years old and several months of job search landed me nothing. I was injured and could not engage in manual work, but also no professional expertise in technical work. I was entirely lost, until one day, I saw an online advertisement that there was an organization that could help me apply for fully funded studying. At first it was too good to be true but I had nothing to lose so I made an appointment.
I came to this Pioneer Education Consulting: in less than an hour of evaluation and consultation, the consultant of the Career Planning Center thought that I could apply for a government-funded project called Second Career, which was set up for the unemployed who were laid off or left because of illness. They could provide tuition and living allowances free of charge. My heart suddenly lit up with new hope.
Back in China I've always had an interest in health and Chinese medicine, so I chose registered massage therapist (RMT) as my major. My salary right after graduation was about 30 CAD/hour, which is much higher than my previous job. With the help of Pioneer, I applied for this Second Career government subsidy - not only were my tuition fees covered but I was also provided with living allowances. I received a total of CAD 28,000 of government assistance!
Age is not a barrier to learning
I think I may be the oldest student that Pioneer has ever helped! After the closure of the factory that I had worked at for over ten years, I was laid off and depressed! I was only four years away from retirement but I did not want to stay home for that long - I was restless, but because of my age, I had no courage to start a new career and opportunities were very slim.
But with Pioneer's constant encouragement and help, I finally chose a major and a college that suited me and arranged additional English tutoring! The staff patiently helped me answer my endless questions and they gave me confidence in my journey. I'm super grateful for all the times Pioneer called me to follow up with my situation and to see how I am doing, it makes me feel very moved.
I received government funding as I wished, and I officially went to school in July 2019. I am happy to be able to return to school at the age of retirement and cherish this hard-won opportunity. Of course, all this can not be done without the help of Pioneer. Now the staff of Pioneer and I have become very good friends!
Immigrant to healthcare professional
I immigrated to Canada in 2010. I was a housekeeper back in China and had no professional background. Introduced by a friend, I learned that Pioneer Education Consulting provides free career planning services. Because Pioneer has more than 100 majors and school resources in most regions, they give students well-informed suggestions with the most updated information on the employment market! After a free consultation, Cathy suggested that I study as a physiotherapy assistant. With their help, I successfully applied for free government funding, completed courses worth tens of thousands of yuan without spending a penny, and had a living allowance during the period so that I could study without worries.
Thank you to the staff of Pioneer for patiently and carefully guiding me through this entire process. Without their free, enthusiastic, professional help, I would not have embarked on the professional road so smoothly today!
I was a supermarket clerk, now I'm a professional accountant
In 2007, I immigrated to Toronto and worked in the supermarket for several months. In 2010, I decided to become an accountant and completed a two-year program at SENECA COLLEGE. But to my surprise, my diploma did not land me anything! My education was all theoretical and employers want to see experience!
After meeting with the consultant CATHY, she gave me professional and enthusiastic guidance: because I met the requirements of low-income families, Pioneer helped me receive free government funding and arranged a vocational college near my home to start seven months of training. The small-class teaching is entirely different from public schools like SENECA. The patience, professional teachers, and hands-on accounting projects let me gain experience! After graduation, Pioneer Education Consulting arranged a 2-month internship in an accounting firm and I landed a full-time job just two months after graduation. I started my first professional job in Canada after all!
I clearly remember what my employer said when he interviewed me: 'I interviewed several graduates from universities and public colleges. With only diplomas, we can't do it. We don't have time to train accountants! It doesn't matter which school the accountant graduated. The accountant needs a down-to-earth working attitude and an employee who can start immediately, not the school graduation certificate!' you NEED experience.
The job market cares more about training and experience than degrees and credentials
I am Mrs. Li from Guangzhou. I immigrated to Canada with my friend, Mrs. Liu, in the same year. Our children were in Grade 10 that year.
My daughter, XM, is smart and has always had excellent academic performance. When we landed in Vancouver, she enrolled in a private school and went to the University of Toronto to study sociology. XQ, the son of my friend Mrs. Liu, is by nature active and playful - he wasn't good at school and barely finished middle school. XQ worked in a restaurant for half a year before he entered a local vocational training school to study construction engineering.
This year, my daughter graduated. While she is still looking for a job, XQ was already a construction appraiser with one year's work experience. As the local construction market is booming, XQ is in good business. Many large companies are requesting him frequently. He even needs to work overtime to complete the work at hand. However, XQ is not satisfied with his current job even though it is well-paid. Instead, he feels inadequate in his career. But the good thing is that he now has money and the option to apply for university if he wishes.
Sometimes I envy XQ very much - his mother Mrs. Liu is no longer worried, she says, "all roads lead to Rome. It seems that vocational education and hands-on training in Canada is the most suitable for people like XQ.”
Technical college was more useful for me than a 4-year university degree
The difficulty of Canadian college graduates in finding jobs has become an increasingly severe social problem in recent years. Many young Canadians are questioning whether going to college is a wise choice.
Alison, 23, is a waitress at coffee shop while studying in college. She made a bold and challenging decision: she wanted to enrol in a technical college. Alison said that going to college is not only expensive, but it's difficult to find a job because employers now prize experience over credentials. It is better to go to a technical college that provides hands-on learning opportunities and cooperative training programs. Alison took a business program at a technical college, majoring in marketing.
The right career is not what is trendiest, I found the one that fits me best
As the saying goes, men fear getting into the wrong business, and women fear marrying the wrong man! But now, in extreme employment situations, both men and women are afraid of entering the wrong industry!
I went to Pioneer after looking for a job for nine months without any interview invitations. I didn't know whether I should persist! I've studied business administration before, but wasn't able to find anything related to my degree because of my poor English (level 5) and writing skills. I also did not enjoy paperwork or office settings, I only studied this under my friend's recommendation. Before I spoke with Cathy, I have been working at a fast food restaurant for three years before being laid off.
Pioneer education consulting gave me a career test evaluation, and after speaking with me, I was determined that I was suitable for preschool education! The technical school mainly focuses on adult vocational training with only nine months of intensive courses, so more emphasis is placed on hands-on ability and employment rate. Small-class teaching and targeted tutoring by teachers ensure graduation and employment, which aligns with my situation! After understanding the school and further understanding of my career prospects, I accepted the suggestions of the Center, successfully applied for low-income government-funded tuition fees, and started learning early childcare assistant (ECA) courses! Today I am pleased to call the Career Planning Center to tell them that I have done an excellent job during their internship in the kindergarten, and the kindergarten has planned to retain me after graduation!
I found my life's direction! Pioneer Consulting helped me choose the perfect program and profession
I have been in Canada for over ten years now and I used to work as a bank accountant in China. Because of the language barrier, I was not able to find a relevant role. After working in a factory for several years, I was laid off carelessly. I was over 50, my benefits were running low, and I had no professional work experience over the past years. I knew that college was an option and that Canada's education funding is generous, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to study - after all, I wasn't young anymore.
I went to Pioneer Education Consulting with questions, who are professionals at counselling low-income and unemployed people to find their direction given the current state of employment market. After I raised my concerns, CATHY, the consultant, detailed my situation. CATHY's analysis told me that because I haven't been in accounting for a long time now, I would no longer be competitive in this industry where there are new graduates joining everyday. Through our chat, CATHY found that because I am good with children I should study preschool education. It's my interest, the language requirement for this industry is not high, and the job market is also very optimistic.
I had low confidence at first, but with the help of the Center, I successfully applied for government-funded training tuition and the professional consultants introduced me to relevant employers to land me an interview. Finally, after seven months of full-time training, I got a position as a teacher assistant in a large kindergarten, from which I started my new career. Up to now, I have worked in that kindergarten for over one year. Also, because of my excellent work performance, my work has allowed me to study further for free. This is something I never thought of!
Because I have chosen the right direction of work under the advice of the Career Planning Center consultant, I can fully show my strength at work and realize this potential. I want to tell all the immigrants who are hesitating on their career path to go visit a professional career planning center for consultation and listen to their professional suggestions, which will undoubtedly help you to choose your major.
I started a new career in cybersecurity after being laid off
I have lived in Toronto for many years. Like many new immigrants, I worked a labor job, which was not stable and the income was low. At the end of 2013, I was laid off by the factory. I wanted to apply for a crybersecurity / information-technology job but needed education for it! I had previously taken some courses but my knowledge was outdated.
I came to Pioneer Education Consulting and told them about my situation. Knowing this, Cathy advised me not to give up and continue explaining my case to the government: she told me phrase my case as a "second career", which meets the requirements of the government's Second Career project funding. The last time I received government funding was six years ago, which also meets the time limit for reapplication. With the efforts of Pioneer, I finally received full tuition from the government to study cybersecurity! In addition, I also got a living allowance of about 1000 yuan per month, so I can go to study my favourite major with ease!