HR Professional - September 2013 - (Page 34)

feature Making Connections for Immigrant HR Professionals HR Connections program builds bridges between employers and newcomers with HR experience BY MELISSA CAMPEAU E va Solarczyk arrived at Pearson International Airport on a cold, wet day in December 2011, with hopes of building an HR career in Canada. Working for Phillip Morris International in her native Poland, she had been involved in change management and learning and development programs. Now looking to start a new chapter in Toronto, Solarczyk found herself without contacts, lacking a support network, and with no clear understanding of how to conduct a targeted job search in her newly adopted country. Luckily for Solarczyk, a wellinformed employee at a Brampton, ON community centre pointed her in the direction of ACCES Employment’s HR Connections program. A determined 34 Solarczyk enthusiastically attended the program classes designed to help her transition to a new culture, brush up on skills with sector-specific training, build her professional network and design and conduct a targeted job search. “From the beginning, I treated the classes like a job,” says Solarczyk. “I went to all the sessions and took part in all the exercises,” says Solarczyk, who adds she was serious and focused about the job search and followed every bit of advice given. “The instructors were amazing. They were interested in us and very motivating,” she says. A growing awareness of cultural differences made a significant impression on Solarczyk, too. “I said to myself, ‘Okay, I come from a different place and a different culture and I S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 H R PROF E S SION A L need to open up.’ It was very helpful for me to realize that.” Solarczyk finished the courses, used her new skills to target her job search and continue applying for positions. She eventually landed a new job—at the KPMG Global Resource Centre—as a Global Audit Learning Consultant and L&D Project Manager. For Solarczyk, HR Connections was the springboard to her career in Canada. “That one program proved to be the vehicle for me to get this job. I am where I am today because of the program,” she says. IMPORTANCE OF VOLUNTEERING AND MENTORING For many others in a similar position, the HR Connections program, and mentoring in particular, is the key to developing a strong industry network and ultimately, landing a great job. A growing number of high-profile companies are discovering the benefits of mentoring. ACCES Employment partners with The Mentoring Partnership at the Toronto Region Immigrant and Employment Council (TRIEC) to identify mentors and to match them with appropriate individuals. Shashi Krishan, Director of Human Resources at The Kingbridge Centre in King City, is a current volunteer with

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Professional - September 2013

Editor’s Letter
Leadership Matters
Legal Words
Embracing Loss: Succession Planning for Sudden Departures
Motivating Gen Y
Looking Ahead 10 Years: Top Challenges Facing HR
Making Connections for Immigrant HR Professionals
Interview with an HR Hero: Rod Jackson, MPP
Off the Shelf
The Last Word

HR Professional - September 2013