You can advance your career by getting Canadian certification for your profession or trade. And this will help to showcase your existing skills, knowledge, and experience to Canadian employers.
A recent survey by World Education Services (WES) found that 74% of newcomers, living in Canada in 2018, found jobs within 6 months of living in the country. And on the surface, this looks like great news. But as WES dug deeper they found that only 39% of them had commensurate jobs with duties relevant to their previous experience, seniority and education.
The same report asked respondents to identify the main barriers they faced when looking for a job. Over 30% answered that employers did not recognize their qualifications and experience, and 25% mentioned that they did not recognize their international education. A picture that looks very familiar to me.
In my current position as a Program Facilitator in a non-profit, I work with newcomer professionals every day. And these results echo what I often hear. When I see their certifications, Masters, and PhDs, I can see the root of their frustration.
Newcomers have invested time and resources in a well-rounded education with hopes they can use it in their, now chosen, country. Moreover, the same credentials allowed them to migrate to Canada.
So it seems contradictory to ask for qualified individuals and then not capitalize on this human resource because their education is not appreciated. But getting Canadian certification can help you to overcome these barriers and advance your career!
Canadian certification for regulated and non-regulated professions
So what may be the reason behind this situation? Broadly speaking there are two kinds of professions in Canada:
- Regulated professions
2. Non-regulated professions.
Regulated professions are related to the safety or well-being of people. And for that reason, people working in these professions need to be certified by a provincial, territorial or federal authority. Some examples include professionals who work in:
- Health care (nurses, dentists, physicians)
- Construction (civil engineers, tradespeople)
- Personal service fields (social workers)
- Legally bound professions (lawyers or accountants).
If in doubt, you can click here to find out if your occupation is regulated in your province or territory.
Why Canadian certification is important
Certification is the way to ensure consistency and quality. Take for example the difference in codes, norms and even construction materials that a civil engineer or architect may encounter.
Many past clients have worked on big projects, using concrete, or brick and mortar, but they are not familiar with using wood for residential purposes. So it is not a lack of preparation, but an update to their new environment.
The same lens can be applied to non-regulated professions. Although it is not critical nor mandatory to get a certificate, it is highly recommended. This professional development step can:
- demonstrate to employers your knowledge in your current environment
- show interest in your professional development.
Embrace lifelong learning
We live in a rapidly evolving economy, where adapting to change is critical with more jobs being automated. And in Canada, ongoing professional development is a key part of the workplace culture.
When you keep learning you can:
- enhance previous skills and put yourself ahead of others
- fuel creativity and innovation
- open up more and better opportunities.
Embracing the lifelong learner in you will improve your self-confidence and put you in the driver’s seat of your career path. And assessing your credentials and upgrading your skills may help you to get a better job with a better salary. What’s not to like?
I might have convinced you by now that investing in more education will pay off in the end. But, you might be wondering “how can I afford it?”
Luckily, there are bridging programs available for permanent residents that can help to mitigate the burden of the cost, like Career Paths, available in BC, or even nationwide free services, like Job Skills HR.
Whether you are considering pursuing a certificate, diploma, or a part-time course, further learning will open doors for you and your future in Canada. A small investment with a high payoff!
Olga Zamudio is an enthusiastic lifelong learner, mom, wife, friend, communicator and facilitator. She arrived in Canada 5 years ago and now is a proud Mexican-Canadian. Olga discovered that her path does not have to be linear and left academia to join the non-profit sector. She is still in an exploration journey with attempts to marry her three strong passions: science, communication, and advocacy. In particular, on the intersectional experience of women in STEM. She helps newcomer professionals in their job search, providing mentorships with volunteer mentors, case management and meaningful experiences through workshops. Find her on Twitter: @OlgaGZamudio