New Immigrant? Meet Small Business

Bridging program at York University focuses on  on encouraging small businesses to hire new Canadians.

By Wallace Immen, The Globe and Mail

Andrey Bolgov assumed he would be a desirable candidate for a job with a big Canadian company when he immigrated to Canada in 2009.

But despite having an MBA in marketing from a German university, fluency in several languages and seven years of experience in marketing and finance for companies in Germany, Italy and Belgium, he got no response to the résumés he sent to potential employers.

By the spring of 2010, he was reaching a dead end. “I didn’t know who else to apply to and I didn’t have any networking contacts to refer me to potential jobs,” the Russian native recalled.

At that time, York University in Toronto was launching a bridging program for internationally educated professionals that was putting an emphasis on the hiring needs of smaller employers.

Mr. Bolgov took courses over the next six months that helped him understand ways in which Canadian companies operate differently than foreign companies for which he had worked.

And, more importantly, a lead he got through contacts in the program led to his job as international marketing specialist for Maplesoft Inc., a technology services company based in Waterloo, Ont., which has 135 employees.

“I would not have known that they were a company to approach for a job,” he said, “but it turned out they were looking for someone just like me [to sell Maplesoft’s services overseas].”

Programs to help newcomers enter the job market aren’t new, but the program at York is specifically focused on encouraging small businesses to hire new Canadians.

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