The Immigrant Fair on October 6, 2015 at the Vancouver Public Library

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The Immigrant Fair on October 6, 2015 at the Vancouver Public Library is a great opportunity for newcomers to explore careers, education and settlement programs that are available to them. These fairs are excellent for helping immigrants navigate the system, but the underlying rules for obtaining employment won’t be found here.

Courses at VSB start on October 6th and I would highly encourage all new immigrants to attend continuing education courses to develop a varied skill set that makes one a very attractive hire.

The Immigrant Fair on October 6, 2015 at the Vancouver Public Library is a great opportunity for newcomers to explore careers, education and settlement programs that are available to them.

These fairs are excellent for helping immigrants navigate the system, but the underlying rules for obtaining employment won’t be found here. Many immigrants are sorely disappointed when they realize how difficult it is to obtain employment and many seek entrepreneurship as another alternative.

Whether one chooses an entrepreneurial route or a job in the labour market there are two things that are core to being successful- a strong network and having multifaceted skills. This is no easy feat. It takes years of networking to build strong relationships and many immigrants just don’t have access to these groups. Many jobs in today’s workforce are not posted, so new immigrants who do not have connections, may find their job search difficult. Another barrier to entry is one’s “job ready” skill set. On a basic level this means being able to write a resume, conduct yourself in an interview, and market yourself - in today’s competitive market, this is the barest of the minimum.

Jennifer Madigan is lucky enough to have experienced both worlds. Jennifer graduated from Langara’s Self Employment Program in 2008 and created a successful business that she then sold to Speech Pathologist, Patrick Byrne, in 2013.

The transition from Self Employment to the regular labour market was not easy and there were many ups and downs, but the number one thing that Madigan talks about is being a jack of all trades.

“My transition was hard, but my saving grace was that I am a strong believer in lifelong learning and made it my mission to enroll in continuing education courses in many different fields in order to stay competitive. My greatest fear was that I would become so focused on my passion and my business that I would no longer be employable. I wanted the option to be able to move in and out of entrepreneurship. That is why, I kept my financial, marketing, computer, project management and public speaking skills up to date.“

Taking classes was also a great opportunity to network with others while learning valuable information. Jennifer has seen many of her entrepreneurial colleagues focus too narrowly on their passion and area of expertise that their skill set becomes stagnant and they are unemployable.

Jennifer believes that “every individual should strive to continuously learn skills that will help improve their life. “

It is no coincidence that Jennifer has found employment in the life long learning sector as the Program Coordinator for the VSB Continuing Studies Program at Langara College.

“One of the best things about my job is that I can utilize all my skills and my large network that I had acquired as an entrepreneur and apply it to my new job,” says Madigan. Lifelong learning and building relationships are key to getting ahead in the life.

“Courses at VSB start on October 6th and I would highly encourage all new immigrants to attend continuing education courses to develop a varied skill set that makes one a very attractive hire.”

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