Business - Management Stream
One thing that Sarpay Karakul has understood from his own experience as a new comer to Canada is that all immigrants need a helping hand. “I have been in that position and I know how hard it is to settle down; especially if you do not speak English!”
Sarpay was not new to Canada when he immigrated from Turkey in 2010. He had previously taken English classes in York University’s English Language Institute (YUELI) as a student. “But student-experience and a new comer-experience are totally different. As a student, one is care free; you don’t really mind having a lousy place to crash. But as a permanent resident, I knew I had to get a job quickly to support my family and settle down.”
It took time and determination to re- script his life. “What helped me to make it easier was my decision to enroll in York University’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs),” he says. He graduated with a certificate in supply chain management and is currently working as branch manager of one of Canada’s largest print and imaging solutions providers.
An extrovert, Sarpay has always enjoyed limelight. He was willing to bet anything to be different and was willing to work hard. “It was my perseverance and hard work that has paid off and helped me connect to a good job.”
It is also his ability to identify and see opportunities that has helped him. His first job was as a night shift cleaner at a gas station. “One incident at work there changed the course of my life. I was furious at myself for being in that helpless situation and decided that I will never be in that situation again.” He went home after work and discussed with his wife and brother about how to regain control of his life. “I spent hours in front of the computer researching options open to me and where I should go to reskill himself.”
Sarpay zeroed in on York University’s Bridging Program for IEPs and is very happy that he did so. “The staff was extremely helpful, and encouraged me to send in my application, but with one caveat! I had to go through the English class (Jumpstart to Success) though I had been to YUELI! I accepted and looking back, I know I have made the right decision. This program gave me not only with a certificate and a job, but many smaller softer skills that matter in the future. “
It is like a flood gate opening up multiple opportunities for me, says Sarpay. “It helped me improve my self-confidence and taught me industry specific skills. I have learnt the cutting edge technologies and practices in supply chain management and logistics such as SAP, cross-docking, and many inventory management policies,” says Sarpay. “I believe these are the things that make you stand out among others when it comes to employment.”
The program was not easy, he says. “What made it easy was the York University system, the faculty and the staff of the program. The faculty and the staff went out of their way to help us.” He narrates an interaction with a staff member when there was some mix up with a course that he had dropped. After going to and fro, she finally said, “Enough is enough. Suck it up butter cup! That was a learning. My situation was my doing and I have to do everything to get out of it.”
“And now, because of the York University certificate, I am sure I will be accepted by any good Canadian university in any managerial science discipline. This will help me improve myself. Personally, my graduation motivated my wife to enroll in a continuing education program after which she too got a fantastic job. Together, we were able to increase our income by 30-40 per cent after we completed our programs.”
His tips to other IEPs? “Know where you currently are, so you know what to improve about yourself. Be determined and don’t let anything deter you. Look outside,” he says, “there are always people better than you. Keep them in your mirror and see yourself on their image. You will succeed once you start seeing yourself in the mirror.”
What is his brand building mantra?” I am not shy; nor am I scared of expressing my opinion to anyone or anywhere. This is technology era and I am completely living it.”
As a proud graduate of he would like to mentor other IEPs. “Though I make it a point to go and talk to new comers, mentoring will give me the satisfaction of seeing an IEP succeed.” he says.
Because of the York University certificate, I am sure I will be accepted by any good Canadian university