*Fadi is a pseudonym. His name was changed for this story to protect his privacy.
Fadi arrived in Canada as a refugee, right before a global pandemic hit. He struggled at first, but then found his way. This is his story;
“I was born in Syria. I studied computer science at the University of Damascus. After the situation escalated, I left for Lebanon and stayed there for about 2 years. In November 2019 I moved to Canada.
The processing of my application was surprisingly fast – it took less than a year after submitting my documents. When I arrived at Canada it took me about 3 months to find a job. The first job I got was after I attended a career fair in Calgary and introduced myself to a startup. I gave them my resume and told them about my experience. They contacted me for an interview, the manager was impressed with my work, and I was hired immediately.
Six months after my arrival, COVID-19 hit, and everything was shut down. It was difficult for me, especially as a newcomer, because I lost my job and was not able to make any new connections. I also wasn’t comfortable with the virtual world, so it was all very discouraging. But I had to adapt, and I decided to invest in myself and find some skills development workshops to enhance my job search and other skills. I searched online and found 2 courses, which I enrolled in, and it took me about six months to complete.
A while after learning the new skills I started making one connection after another, until I came across Jumpstart Refugee Talent. I applied for one of their programs: Welcome Talent Canada and was matched with a mentor that helped me advance in my career. My mentor, Mark, was able to provide me with a lot of guidance and connected me with some people from his vast professional network. One of Mark’s connections offered me freelance work for their company, so I accepted and started doing freelance from home.
The company kept growing and they hired more people. Luckily, they were aware of my work, so they offered me a position, and I accepted. Now I have a full-time job that is helping me set up a better future for myself. That’s all that I’ve hoped for since coming to Canada to be honest.
My message for all refugees and refugee claimants in Canada is to network. If you are coming here with a degree, or learning a new one, or you want to work in a field you want, the key is connections. You need to network in order to get and do the things you want to do. Networking is very Important.”
For more information about Jumpstart’s mentorship program visit: https://jumpstartrefugee.ca/programs/wtc