Employment programs and workshops for newcomers

The IRSA employment services team organizes workshops for registered IRSA clients eligible to work in Canada. Participation is free unless otherwise stated.

Canadian Workplace Culture

What is it like to work in a Canadian workplace? In this workshop, IRSA employment specialists will help you navigate what Canadian employers and co-workers expect from you, and what you can expect when you start your first job in Canada. This three-hour course will also cover your rights in the workplace.

The IRSA cultural inclusion trainers will present an interactive component on the benefits of a diverse workplace and how to respect other cultures in the workplace. This workshop will address essential workplace norms.

Workshop topics include:

  • Appropriate interaction with co-workers
  • The importance of punctuality
  • How to provide support and give feedback to co-workers
  • How and when to ask questions
  • Approaches to handling conflict at the workplace
  • Dress code, scents at work, maintaining a positive attitude

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Refugee Employment Orientation

If you are a newly-arrived refugee to Prince Edward Island, an employment specialist will give you employment information one-to-one and help you navigate the Canadian job market. The employment specialist will ask you questions to identify your transferable skills and previous work experience to help you find employment or education and determine a career path on PEI.

Working through interpreters where necessary, employment specialists provide refugees with:

  • An introduction to the geography of PEI as it relates to employment
  • An overview of the PEI labour market
  • The employment services available at IRSA
  • An overview of other workshops available through EAS
  • Other services and programs at IRSA like the EAL Volunteer Tutor Program
  • Programs, funding, training and other opportunities
  • A brief overview of The Coopérative d’intégration francophone (CIF) de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard for any Francophone refugees

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Alternate Careers Day

This full-day event is held each year for newcomer professionals considering an alternate career in Canada. Employment Assistance Service brings together newcomers, employers, sector representatives, post-secondary institutions, and government officials to participate in round-table discussions. Alternate Careers Day provides opportunities to learn how your skills can be transferred to a new career on PEI.

Program includes:

  • Information on how to transfer your skills and abilities to a new career
  • Opportunities to meet face-to-face with Island employers
  • Training about the labour market needs on PEI
  • Presentations about post-secondary education opportunities
  • Success stories from other newcomers who have chosen new career paths

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Networking for Success

Building and expanding a network of established Islanders, especially business owners, is crucial for newcomers who are job searching on PEI. In this three-hour workshop, you will learn about networking opportunities in your field, how to introduce yourself, and tips for successful networking.

Topics covered include:

  • Networking: helping others, sharing, asking the right questions
  • Reasons for networking
  • Introverts versus extroverts and networking styles
  • Speaking, volunteering, and participating in events
  • Engaging in online communities
  • How to communicate at events
  • Making it easy for someone you have met to find you again

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Newcomer Entrepreneur Program

Owning a business could be an attractive option for you in Canada. However, a lack of knowledge of business start-up and post-start-up, limited familiarity with Canadian workplace culture and having different cultural expectations of human resources can present barriers to your success as an entrepreneur.

Employment Assistance Service, in partnership with the PEI Connectors Program, offers a Newcomer Entrepreneur Program to help overcome barriers to your success in Canada. Experts will guide participants through the components of a successful business plan. Each year the program is offered to twelve newcomers.

Workshop includes:

  • In-depth nine-week program, with eighteen sessions that build your knowledge
  • Subject matter experts presenting on topics such as market research, law, insurance, marketing, business financial projections, and accounting and bookkeeping
  • Learning about the components of a successful business plan
  • Working through your business idea in a comfortable group setting
  • Feedback and support for your business idea

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Job Fair Preparation

Job fairs are an excellent way to meet many potential employers at once—you can network, pass out your resume, and improve your communication and interview skills.

This three-hour workshop prepares you to become successful in marketing your qualifications and skills at a job fair. Learn what to take with you, how to target potential employers, how to prepare a winning 30-second introduction, and how to follow up with employers.

Topics covered include:

  • Effective introductions and asking great questions
  • Resume, portfolio, and cover letter assistance
  • Interview and job fair meeting techniques
  • Researching an employer ahead of time
  • Understanding your labour market
  • How to present a professional appearance
  • Creating an "A" list and "B" list of employers to meet
  • Avoiding long lines and collecting relevant information
  • Following up with employers after the job fair

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Social Media and Your Career

This workshop looks at various aspects of social media in the context of employment. Effective job searches, conducting yourself professionally online, using social media as a marketing tool—there are many topics covered. Expert subject presenters discuss appropriate content, tone, and online time management within the evolving Canadian workplace culture. Learn how to use social media for your job search and career advancement. This is a three-hour workshop.

Platforms discussed include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, and others.

  • Canadian standards in the social media context
  • How to use social networking tools in your job search
  • Presenting yourself professionally online
  • Social media use in the workplace and what is appropriate
  • Marketing your creative product or company online
  • Best practices in social media and tools for success
  • How to set up a LinkedIn account and avoid scams

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Interview Skills Practice

Learning about job interviews in Canada and practicing interview skills can notably increase your chance of success in obtaining employment. If you are a newcomer to Canada, you can book an appointment through your employment specialist with a scheduled member of the EAS team. Staff will alternate to deliver this service and will be available by appointment for clients to come in and practice job interviews in person.

During a practice interview, types of questions that may be asked during a particular industry or job will be identified. The employment specialist will run through a sample interview with you so that you can practice answering the questions. Participants will learn what employers expect and how to present themselves confidently and professionally. Your practice interview can be videotaped or recorded so you can watch the practice interview and receive feedback from the employment specialist.

Topics discussed include:

  • Insight into what recruiters are looking for on a resume
  • Different types of interviews like in-person or pre-screening on the phone
  • How to prepare for an interview and common interview questions
  • Practice interviews
  • What to bring to an interview
  • Common interview mistakes
  • Questions to ask at the end of an interview

All information is confidential. Call or email your employment specialist to book your practice interview appointment today.

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International Students Information Sessions

IRSA employment specialists, working collaboratively with the Settlement Worker for International Students, will organize a UPEI or Holland College information session that provides:

  • Introduction to the services available to international students at IRSA
  • Job search and resume writing tips and techniques
  • Pathways to employment and employment programs for international students
  • Individual follow-up with an employment specialist

The employment specialists will meet with international students one-to-one and provide in-depth employment counselling. Contact any member of the employment team for more information.

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NOTE: Before accessing programs and services mentioned on this page, all clients must be registered with IRSA.

Guide for Newcomers: Employment

Program Team

Arun Jose

Arun Jose
Employment Specialist

(902) 628-6009 ext. 217

Lucy Zhang

Lucy Zhang
Employment Specialist

(902) 628-6009 ext. 212

Mike Gavin

Mike Gavin
Employment Specialist

(902) 628-6009 ext. 239

Kareem Abd-El-Aziz

Kareem Abd-El-Aziz
Employment Specialist

(902) 628-6009 ext. 262

Eric Myers

Eric Myers
Employment Specialist

(902) 628-6009 ext. 224