Career mentors are trusted guides acting as informal coaches, role models, and connectors, who offer encouragement and advice. As a newcomer to Canada, it can be difficult to find a mentor. A number of options are specifically available for newcomers. It may seem daunting to approach an individual or organization for mentoring; however, these programs were created specifically to help you understand the world of work in Canada. They can help you learn answers to questions you don’t know you have. Here are 5 organizations that can help you connect to a career mentor:
Mentor Connect – Immigrant Employment Council of BC
Mentor Connect is offered through the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IECBC). This program connects skilled immigrants with established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships. Skilled immigrants entering this program have the education, experience, and language skills to succeed in the Canadian labour market. However, they may not understand the Canadian context of their profession, workplace culture, or know how to translate their skill sets. Often what skilled immigrants need are the local insights and access to professional networks that a one-on-one connection with a local mentor can offer.
Workplace Connections Mentoring Program – MOSAIC
The Workplace Connections Mentoring Program through MOSAIC is a 3-month, one-on-one, mentorship program that introduces immigrants to professionals in similar fields. Volunteers share their knowledge of the local labour market, and workplace culture while assisting you to build your professional network.
Career Mentoring for SUCCESS – S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Immigrant Settlement & Integration Program
Career Mentoring for SUCCESS is offered through the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Immigrant Settlement & Integration Program. This program bridges you to career success by providing you with the information you need in your field of expertise. Your mentor will provide you with information, support, and guidance to jumpstart your career in Canada. They will provide information on pathways to credential assessment, help you understand how to upgrade your education, and increase opportunities to access the “hidden” job market. Both one-to-one and group mentoring opportunities are available.
Mentorship Program – City of Vancouver
The Mentorship Program through the City of Vancouver matches city staff with newly arrived immigrant professionals. City staff share their knowledge, expertise, and professional networks with newly arrived immigrant professionals. Mentors are sourced from various civic departments. Some staff mentors have included General Managers and senior leaders in the organization.
Career Mentorship Program – Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria
The Career Mentorship Program through the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria connects immigrants to qualified local professionals in various fields to help immigrant professionals explore the local labour market and learn the “unspoken rules” of the Canadian workforce.
Mentorship programs are a great way to connect with professionals with similar career backgrounds; however, if you’re unable to utilize these options, you can always find a mentor through other methods. Your local library will have a wealth of resources to help you find a mentor, including books on this topic, information about volunteer opportunities, industry associations, or other means of connecting with people in your community. Be open. Share your story and hopes with others. You’ll be surprised to see how many doors start to open for you.