Pulasthi Narawanagoda came to Canada from Sri Lanka as a skilled migrant worker last summer. Despite his skills he found it quite difficult to gain employment or to even get an interview. Fast forward one year and now he has begun a career in his desired field of hospitality, working at The Hilton Hotel. The story of how Narawanagoda came to accomplish this is an important one, as it gives hope to many who are in the same situation he was in.
At some point in Narawanagoda’s struggle to gain employment, he was referred to the Next Steps Employment Centre in Downsview. After joining up with them and partaking in their offered programs, Narawanagoda was able to find a job within a couple of weeks.
The Next Steps Employment Centre is part of a group of centres, with 7 locations in Toronto. These centres are run and managed by the Toronto District School Board and funded by Employment Ontario.
The Downsview location is at 3701 Chesswood Drive, Unit 100 and is a full service location offering client service planning and coordination, resources and information, job searching, job matching, placement and incentives, job retention and more. Narawanagoda was able to take part in some of the workshops they offer to improve interview skills, resume building and networking.
Originally Narawanagoda gained employment at the Comfort Inn, however after his experience with Next Steps, Narawanagoda had gained the confidence to move further in the industry. After about a month of working he decided he should apply for the Hilton Hotel job.
When asked about his initial job search, Narawanagoda states, “I was a bit down. Without getting interviews and stuff you get really frustrated”. These are feelings of doubt shared by numerous job hunters everywhere.
Fortunately there are great places like Next Steps to help not just newcomers to Canada but anyone who might be having a hard time with the job hunt. Narawanagoda explains, “If you really follow what they say, if you take it seriously, I think anyone can be employed”. If you are new to Canada though, Narawanagoda thinks that the Next Steps workshops should be mandatory. He states “I think this Next Steps program should be a compulsory thing for newcomers to Canada. Because we don’t know about anything. We don’t know about the culture. If you’re new to Canada you have to go there.”
If you are having problems gaining employment or finding the right employment, try not to give in to those feelings of frustration. Getting some help can alleviate these worries and concerns.
Like Narawanagoda, you could be saying, “I’m really glad that I went there” too!
Contact Downsview Next Steps Employment Centre at 416-395-9559.
*Written by: Leah Sullivan and Ann Mossop