With a university education, IT work experience and good English language skills, Ghadeer Abou-Shakra was confident that she would be able to find a job in her field in Ottawa fairly quickly. Things didn’t turn out that way. Most Ottawa employers asked for bilingualism (English/French), Canadian work experience and references. She was unable to find a position that matched her experience and education and had to settle for a survival job at a local call centre.
Ghadeer holds a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from Al-Azhar University, Gaza. After her arrival in Canada she obtained a Masters Certificate in Business Analysis at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. Ghadeer’s international work experience includes managerial positions with global firms like DHL and UPS.
To help improve her employment prospects, Ghadeer participated in job search workshops at LASI World Skills. Through LASI she had the opportunity to apply for the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC) Immigrant Internship Pilot Program (IIPP). She was hired as an Analyst with the Foreign Credential Recognition unit in the Skills and Employment Branch of HRSDC.
The IIPP internship at HRSDC gave Ghadeer invaluable Canadian work experience and exposed her to a local network. This network included a mentor who helped her with workplace transition and understanding the Canadian workplace, and also provided a local reference. The mentor relationship continues although she has now graduated from the IIPP program. Through the internship program Ghadeer gained insight into the process of applying for federal service jobs and also now has a valid security clearance, which comes in handy when applying for federal public service jobs.
Following her internship Ghadeer was hired as a business analyst with a federal government department here in Ottawa.