Business - Human Resources Stream
AGTA Health Care
In the Philippines, Beth Pendon worked in one of the largest retail stores as an accomplished HR Assistant. She interviewed, oriented and deployed new staff in branches across the country. She knew her skills and experience would be an asset for her in Canada.
Before she arrived in 2014, her husband, who was already living in Canada “told me if you're working in HR, don't expect that you'll get the same job here. You may have to start over. You have to go back to school, upgrade your skills.” Pendon was skeptical: “I didn't believe him. I was confident that I would get a job in my field.”
She got her reality check in her second week in Canada. Pendon started looking for work. She applied for jobs, but says “I was so disappointed, and frustrated because I didn't get any responses.” She quickly realized that her resume wasn't “Canadian friendly.” She included for example her picture, common in the Philippines, but not in Canada.
Pendon did what many professional newcomers do, she got a survival job. While on her way home from her job, she drove by the Welcome Centre in Vaughn and went in to see what they had to offer. They assessed her, and she started taking job search workshops and an office administration course. It was a busy time for Pendon. She worked at Wendy's from 5pm to closing, woke up the next day at 5:30 to go to class and then back to work in the evening. Through this course she landed an HR internship at AGTA Home Health Care, focusing on recruitment. After two months as an intern, Pendon was hired as an Administrative Assistant.
Along the way she met someone who gave her information about the York University IEP Bridging Program. Pendon was studying in the IEP Program while working and she credits the IEP Program with giving her the confidence to apply for an HR position at AGTA when it opened up: “During that time I didn't believe in what I could do, I felt that I couldn't use all of my skills here, because I didn't have a Canadian education. When I was in the Bridging Program and the position opened, I was already more confident that I could do it.” Less than a year later after she started working as an Administrative Assistant, an HR Administrator and starting the York U program the position opened up at AGTA. Pendon applied and was hired.
Even though she felt she needed the academic upgrading, going back to school was intimidating. However, when she first met her classmates, she realized they were like her, experienced professionals who were struggling. That helped her feel like she would fit in. When she started attending classes, she recognized her own knowledge and experience. She became confident in her previous education, but also recognized she could learn more and the intimidation washed away: “I could use all the things I was learning in my job. It made me more excited to go to school.”
Pendon says one thing she learned sticks out, learning to “speak the Canadian way.” Learning about cultural communication, Canadian culture, and English language nuances in Canada contributed to her confidence. She learned new skills she used immediately at work. Pendon says the Program has also helped her polish her resume (now “Canadian friendly”) and improve her LinkedIn profile. Although happily working at AGTA, she has been actively recruited for HR jobs, boosting her confidence even more.
AGTA benefited from Pendon's newfound confidence and learning, but also her previous experience in the Philippines. Pendon says, “I was able to share my knowledge and skills and my attitude towards work. I'm a hard-working person, very committed, I do my very best to contribute to the company. I always offer help and always willing to do things above and beyond. I think this is a common work ethic among IEPs.”
Pendon wants employers to know that “IEPs are very skilled. If employers would recognize those skills, they would benefit from them. IEP grads can contribute to their company. IEPs in the York University Bridging Program also have extensive experience in our fields. Companies can learn from IEPs because of that global knowledge, the different perspectives and ways of doing things we've brought with us from our countries and companies. It's a win-win situation. Companies give IEPs experience and opportunity. IEPs help companies with their skills, knowledge and hard work.”
Pendon recommends the York University Bridging Program to other IEPs. Take advantage of all that it offers, she says. “Don't stop learning. Enhance your skills. Take all the workshops. Go out of your comfort zone. Share your knowledge with others and support other newcomers.”
Pendon also offers IEPs the advice that she got before she arrived. They should “be patient when it comes to finding a job. At the same time, she says, be confident in what you have done and can do. IEPs are assets for Canadian employers.
Beth is one of hundreds of students who participate in York’s IEP Bridging Programs for HR, IT and Business professionals. This program offers a ready pool of talent and staff eager to help employers connect and advertise opportunities at no-cost to them. To find out more about how the program can help you promote your brand contact firstname.lastname@example.org