Newcomer youth in Canada face a number of unique challenges when job searching. Mastering a new language, adjusting to new systems, and lacking work experience and connections are just a few of the common barriers they face as they look for employment. Finding the right kind of support, learning about the job search process in Canada, and developing a sense of confidence in their abilities are some of the ways that can help newcomer youth achieve success in their job search. Our Spotlight on Success this month, Nathalie Zapata, is proof of this.
Nathalie Zapata was a participant of ACCES Employment’s Youth Job Connection (YJC) program. Her determination, positive attitude, skills, and knowledge helped her find a job in her field. Nathalie is now baking freshly made, delicious creations as a pastry chef with one of the most renowned hospitality groups in Toronto.
Nathalie grew up in the suburbs of Paris, France, and trained as a pastry chef. She completed her certificate program in 2014 and started working at a local shop. As she settled into a routine and got comfortable with her work, she soon realized that she needed to challenge herself more. For her to advance further in her career, she knew that she needed to gain competitive experience in her field, and also learn English. This realization inspired Nathalie to move to Canada in 2016.
Once Nathalie was in Canada, she began to see advertisements for ACCES Employment during her travels around the city on the local transit system. She checked out ACCES Employment online and decided to visit the office after watching some of their videos on YouTube. Nathalie was elated when she was accepted into the YJC program.
Through the YJC program, Nathalie gained a wealth of knowledge on the Canadian workplace and how to successfully find employment. Nathalie was happy to share her learnings and tips for newcomer youth who are beginning their career journey in Canada.
Here are Nathalie’s top four tips for preparing for the job search as a newcomer youth in Canada:
Practice Everything You Learn
“One of the major differences I found with the YJC program in comparison to my education in France was how efficient it was. We had to immediately apply everything we learned. It was challenging, but it allowed me to truly learn the skills we were discussing. An example of this would be the importance of building your brand and marketing yourself. We first learned the importance and then we were asked to try it in front of our peers. As a newcomer and a youth, I believe it is important to learn skills for a successful approach to job searching, but it is equally important to practice your learnings to build a strong understanding.”
Improve Your Résumé and Interview Skills
“As a newcomer youth, I had minimal experience with résumé preparation and job interviews. I also had limited work experience in my field to draw on. Learning more about Canadian employer expectations, keywords and phrases, and effective ways to market myself was extremely helpful. It made the application and interview process a lot less daunting!”
Learn to Work as a Team and Support Each Other
“Understanding how to work independently—but also as a contributing member of a team—is vital in the workplace. Through the YJC program, we had the opportunity to do both. This created a dynamic learning environment. Programs specific to newcomer youth can provide the support you need to find a job. I made a lot of good friends during the YJC program and we continue to stay in touch to this day. When we left the program, each one of us found a job and got busy, making it harder to meet up. We created a Facebook group to continue supporting and updating each other, and I really appreciate these new friendships.”
Challenge Yourself Every Day
“Preparing to start a new career or job searching can be stressful and hard, but there are opportunities here. Continue learning, challenge yourself, and opportunity awaits.”
For more information on the YJC program, Employment Connections for Newcomer Youth, and other youth-focused services at ACCES, please visit the Job Search for Youth page.