What it Feels Like for Global Youth

Recently the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Ryerson and Ryerson University International Support hosted a panel discussion on global youth employment. The discussion centred on the difficulties that students and youth from the Global South have when migrating to the Global North. The panel consisted of Dr. Henry Parada, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Ryerson University,
Ana Leticia Ibarra, Research Coordinator, Children and Youth Human Rights Empowerment Project, Christian Bambe, WUSC Scholar, and Thuch James, Founder, ROSS DAILYINC Online Magazine. Dr. Winnie Ng, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University gave the key note speech in which she discussed the intersectionality of love and power and the systemic racism and colonialism that bars newcomers from the same opportunities as other Canadians, both of which were further developed by the panel.

The panel began by speaking to the difference between the Global North and South and the challenges newcomers face. In the first place access to education is different in other parts of the world. In Canada we all receive and have access to basic education, there are places that don’t allow for that or have the system in place to. It is difficult to become educated in the Global South and therefore difficult to become employed. However, even if you do get an education it may still be difficult to get a job if you migrate to the Global North. This is because education is not transferable in Canada, if you are trained to be a doctor in South Africa you cannot work as a doctor in Canada until you have gone through our education system. These migrant workers are told their education is invalid here and are forced to start over from scratch. Not only is this harmful emotionally but it also sets migrants back and if they do not have a support system in place in Canada it makes it difficult for them to ever realize their professional and personal goals. Additionally, without an economic support system migrants may not be able to get the needed Canadian work or volunteer experience that employers require, let alone pay for their education twice. This is detrimental to migrants and to Canadians as they both lose out on valuable opportunities, Canadians lose the experience and opinions that come from people who learn and live in other countries. However, it is possible to overcome these barriers, past generations of immigrants made lives for themselves here in Canada and new generations will as well, it will be difficult because the system makes it difficult but there is hope.

The difficulties with credential recognition not only have economic impacts on individual but also psychological. Denouncing someone’s credentials sets them behind in their life progression and they may also internalize this, they may begin to feel that they are inadequate or that something is wrong with them when it is the system holding them back not themselves. Individuals may give up due to the distress and the knowledge that so much time will be wasted out of their life and this benefits no one. Additionally, there is a strange anomaly here. In Canada we accept the education of people coming from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom but nowhere else. Why is this? The panel believed it was due to systemic racism. Which seems to make sense because why those four countries and no one else?

The panel then moved on to how employers can aid youth. Simply put employers can help by giving youth the opportunities to develop the practical skills needed. Currently there seems to be a shift towards an individualistic system where potential applicants have to develop practical skills on their own before even applying for a job. Employers no longer want to provide this kind of skill training, youth need to seek it out on their own. Adding on to that if migrant present these but not in a Canadian context they don’t count, they must develop them within Canada. This seems counterintuitive since Canadians who go abroad and learn new skills are welcomed back with job prospects because of this worldly experience but it doesn’t seem to go the other way.

Lastly, the ideas of the “brain drain” and associated “brain waste” that occur in Canada were reflected upon. These were two new concepts to me and two ideas that I found quite saddening. The Global North countries are attractive to youth and workers in other countries and they know this. Global North countries bring in the best students from the Global South and educate them and force them to stay here for a set period of time. This is the “brain drain”. We are taking the educated youth away from their communities where they could be making a large impact and benefiting the lives of the people around them. They could be setting up a system within their own countries to make them better but we keep them here. Along with this, the bright and educated migrants who come to Canada of their own volition are not allowed to work, this is the “brain waste”. We have skilled people coming into our country but they are only allowed to work in the service industry because their experiences are invalid. In all the panel agreed that Canada should look into the idea of return migration. Bringing bright youth to Canada and giving them the opportunity to get an education and then allowing them to return to their country or stay here and develop support systems for future generations to become educated and improve the lives of all.

2nd Annual Nursing Networking Night: From Graduation to Occupation

On Monday. February 22, 2016 – 6pm – 9pm – I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Nursing Network Night at Ryerson University – “From Graduation to Occupation”, hosted by the Nursing Course Union and Canadian Nursing Students Association (NCU-CNSA). This event began last year as a way to engage nursing students at Ryerson to be more involved, engaged, and take initiative in their career and professional development. It turned out to be highly successful in 2015 and garnered a lot of positive feedback from attendees. So this year, they announced their second event in order to continue encouraging nursing students at Ryerson to facilitate a smooth transition from graduation to occupation.


The evening began with a few words of welcome from representatives from both NCU and CNSA. Then we jumped straight into a few words from a representative at Ryerson’s Career Centre, who shed some light on the basics of Networking. She was able to teach us the ins and outs of the process of networking – the do’s and don’ts, and the how to’s. She was also there to advocate and speak for the resource available on campus that is Ryerson’s Career Centre. The Career Centre is a highly valuable resource for Ryerson Students when in the pursuit if a job or to help facilitate an easier transition post-graduation to work and career life. They help students with things like making the ideal cover letter and resume, building your LinkedIn profile, interview tips and practice, etc. If you’re ever in need for great ways to build and improve your professional self, you can find Ryerson’s Career Centre at POD60 (located just below The Hub).


After the presentation from Ryerson’s Career Centre, a couple of speakers who were Ryerson Nursing Alumni, spoke about their own personal stories and their journeys. They shed some light and inspiration as they talked about the different ways in which they were able to reach their goals of becoming an registered nurse (RN). This portion of the evening was especially helpful for the nursing student attendees as we were able to truly relate to these alumni, knowing that not too long ago, they, too, were in the same situation that we currently are in. Their stories of their journeys were captivating, motivating, and inspiring. It truly highlighted how personal the process is of becoming an RN and how nursing students can better prepare themselves for not just a job, but a long-lasting and fulfilling career.


After the presentation from the alumni speakers, the evening moved forward to the dinner, graciously supplied by Chipotle.

After dinner was the highlight of the night: the Q&A panel. NCU-CNSA was able to get nursing managers from the major hospitals in the downtown to represent each hospital organization, and answer any questions we may have. The nursing managers and representatives came from Michael Garron Hospital (formerly known as TEGH – Toronto East General Hospital), UHN (University Health Network – comprised of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), and The Hospital for Sick Children. The line up of panellists truly excited the nursing students in the room – the majority of whom eager to work for such established and world-renowned organizations. The Q&A panel was the opportunity of the night to ask any and every question running through every nursing student’s mind.

“What is the ideal candidate for you?”

“What kinds of people do you prefer to hire – internal or external applicants?”

“What are the different kinds of interviews you conduct?”

“Do you hire applicants prior to completion of graduation and/or NCLEX examination?”

“How do you build a strong mentor relationship?”


Needless to say, the Q&A of highly experienced registered nurses in executive positions within the most renowned hospitals in the country, did nothing short of answering each questions with clarity and efficiency. Not only did they answer questions well to the highest degree, they also offered valuable insight and advice as to how to begin your career as an RN. They were more than generous with their time and their thoughts on how to transition from a nursing student, graduate nursing student, to RN. The panellists were gracious and true role models for each nursing student attendee in the room.


The night was a great success, as anticipated! Everything went smoothly, all in attendance enjoyed themselves, and nursing students were able to connect with their peers and their prospective employers. We learned how to market ourselves in the health care industry, how to appeal to employers and organizations, and how to prepare ourselves for the near future.

Land the Perfect Summer Internship

Internships offer you the real work experience that employers go crazy for. Summer is here and how do you land the perfect summer internship?

Graduate studies is a chance to savour education.

Resume and cover letter
Book an appointment with Ryerson Career Centre to get advice on how to make your resume and cover letter stand out. Employers will simply run your resume and cover letter through a software and search for key words. Therefore, it is important to use customize your resume and cover letter for each position. You are competing against many other university and college students and you have to make sure your resume and cover letter are up to par.

Don’t forget to apply!
It is hard to find an opportunity that offers you everything you are looking for. Be open to all opportunities as your main goal is to gain the necessary work experience before you graduate. Apply to as many online internship postings as you can. Off course, this is time consuming but you must be willing to work for what you want.

Online Presence
LinkedIn allows you to connect with potential employers without having to be in the same room as them. The trick is to get your profile to all-star level by uploading your previous experience, responsibilities, projects and asking past employers for recommendations that will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Once you have an established profile, you can connect with a company or organization’s HR manager by sending a brief message introducing yourself. HR managers are always looking for someone who is professional, qualified and an enthusiastic candidate.

Practice your interview skills
Let me be honest. You will not hear back from each and every position or person you contact. However, you should hear back from at least a few. They may ask you for an in-person or phone interview. So always be prepared. Brush up on those interview skills that will help you land the perfect summer internship. Ryerson Career Centre also holds mock interviews and it is one of the best ways to prepare for a real interview. The number one piece of advice you can receive from someone who did not land the perfect summer internship last year is to start your search early. Research the deadlines for summer internship applications for the companies or organizations you want to apply to before its too late. Good luck!

Job Hunting Tips

Photograph of a woman looking at the career section of a news paper

Looking for a job can sometimes be as much work as having a full time job. There are a few tips and suggestions which can make this process a little less painful.

First, apply for everything. Even if the position is one in which you aren’t completely sure that you qualify for. It’s great practice to tailor your resume and cover letter which will make it easier to do in the future. Also, you never know who else is applying and perhaps you are more skilled than you think. I have noticed that sometimes organizations create a wish list for a job description and will accept other skills if they feel the person is a fit with their organization.

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t receive feedback from your resumes. There are many other people who are also looking for work and you never know how many people have applied for the same position. I recently had an interview, months after sending in my resume, it was a small organization and had received hundreds of resumes. This can make it time consuming for the organization to sort through and get back to applicants. If it is a job that you are particularly interested in, you could always follow up with an email.

Once you have heard back and are scheduled for an interview, PREPARE. Don’t get too stressed about the preparation, but ensure that you know about the organization. Spend time going over their website and get to know their history and mission. See if you can find any other information about the company online.

Think about questions that could be asked of you in the interview. While it seems easy to talk about yourself, it isn’t always that easy if you are feeling nervous. There are many sites online which can offer you sample interview questions and suggested answers. It can be helpful to review the questions, but instead really think about how you would answer those question and practice if necessary.Here are a few of questions which I have noticed in many of my recent interviews.

  1. What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
  2. What is your greatest strength/weakness?
  3. How do you react to stress/conflict?
  4. Why are you interested in working for this organization/leaving where you work now?

It is also a good idea to think of questions that you would like the answer too. Remember that interviews are a two way street and you need to learn if you are interested in the job. Here are a couple of questions worth asking.

  1. What would the day to day responsibilities of the position look like?
  2. What is the organizational structure?

Don’t be afraid to ask the more difficult questions as they may impact your decision.

  1. How flexible is the pay range?
  2. How much room is their in the organization for upward mobility?

Try to view the process as a learning experience and even if you say something you regret in an interview don’t judge yourself too harshly. The worst that can happen is you won’t hear back.

Internship vs. volunteer experience

As February comes to an end, you may have seen posters for job fairs and summer job advertisements. Often you will find positions labelled as internship. While some of them may simply be volunteer positions. Should you choose an internship over a volunteer position? I will try to answer this question in today’s post. Both positions may have similarities but there are qualities in each role that may or may not suit your current lifestyle or position.

Graduate studies is a chance to savour education.

Commitment: Most internships run during regular business hours (five days a week). This means that there may not be much flexibility in your schedule. It may put you at a disadvantage due to the fact that you will have limited time to earn money from a part-time job. If it is a paid internship, you are in a better position as you are earning some money and gaining valuable experience. Volunteer opportunities have more flexibility as you are able to make up your own schedule. They usually do not require an extensive time commitment. You are able to continue your part-time job while volunteering during scheduled hours. However, since you won’t be putting in as many hours, or doing the work as regularly, it may take longer to adjust to the role and sharpen those skills

Responsibilities: What would be some of your responsibilities in either position? Will there be a chance for growth? In an internship, you may work on smaller tasks to support the professionals and get mentored by folks in the leadership position. You may eventually find people who you want to look up to as you may end up in a position you aspire to hold one day. In a volunteer position, there may or may not be flexibility for leadership opportunities. If you are the type of person that is great at calling shots and delegating, you should know that many organizations now hire volunteers to take on management roles. At the end of the day, any experience that is related to the type of job you are applying would be considered an asset.

Environment: Off course, you will get great experience by taking either one of the roles. It will open more networking opportunities for you. This is extremely valuable for new grads and students who are looking to land an entry level job. Volunteering often takes place in a laid-back setting. Often you will be working with other volunteers; it may not be the best place to get the workplace experience over an internship. However, volunteer experience is still valuable addition to your resume. Therefore, choose wisely and choose a place which works best for great career experience.

Preparing for an Interview

Anyone who is looking for summer internships and placements should keep an eye out as most companies and municipalities start posting their summer positions at least two months in advance of the summer start date. I have always found writing the resume and tailoring the cover letter to be the toughest part of the job hunt. One of my professors used to say that once you land an interview, you are 50% closer to getting the job as impressing the employer is the only thing left to do. After an HR person calls you to book an interview time, you go from being words on a page to becoming an actual person. At this point, your only goal is to shine. I have included some tips on how you should make your first impressions count with a potential employer.

Dress Professionally: If this is the first time you are going through an interview process, you should start by dressing formal and wearing something memorable. Ask someone who has gone through this process many times (siblings, parents etc). It can help you stand out among other applicants. Remember, the key is not to overdo it. If you are wearing a suit, you could wear a bow tie, or a coloured pocket square. If you are wearing a dress or skirt, you could accessorize with some brightly coloured jewellery. You should aim to wear something that will make you recall in an interviewer’s mind. Your outfit can also lead to an interesting conversation during the interview process. This is something that likely will not happen with those who decide to wear classic neutral colours. Catching their eye with a little pop of colour is an easy but effective way of keeping you on their mind.summer job

Be yourself: Interviewers are people too and they were in your shoes at one point in their career. Try to take an interest in them as a person. You should ask about their day and seem genuinely interested. They will likely be happy to share since most people like to talk about themselves. Obviously, you will have time to talk about your skills and there will be time when the spotlight is on you. If you make a small talk before and after the interview, you will be seen as a people person.

It also helps to learn a bit about the interviewer(s). Once you get a call from an HR person, note down all the details including date and time of the interview and name of the interviewer(s). You should begin by checking out to see if they have a Linkedin profile. Have a look at their interests and experiences. During the interview, you may want to bring up casually and chat about something you noted on their profile. Remember the key is to leave a positive impression.

Some people suggest that taking notes during an interview can show that you are open to learning new things. An applicant may have all the experience needed for the job, but if they are not willing to learn, they are of very little use to the employer.

Find a Job that’s Right for you!

facebook-employment-625x1000Many of you have one more year of university to complete, or have even graduated this past June. What does this mean? It means it’s time to face the real world and get a ‘real job’. Now, when I say ‘real job’, it is not to disregard employment one might have had during university. Many of us had to work during our undergrad whether it was through retail, customer service, the restaurant industry etc. which all involved our time and effort. What I do mean by ‘real job’ is a job that will eventually bring us closer to our ultimate career.

With that said, after being out of school for over a year, and working full time for the past two years, I can say that even in that short period of time I have learned a great deal in how to find a job that fits my needs and desires (based on both positive and negative experiences). Here is a list of helpful tips in no particular order:

  1. Don’t jump the gun – When it comes to finding the right job, patience is a virtue. Don’t take the first thing that becomes available (unless you’re really, REALLY, in a jam). Finding that perfect job takes time and research. Surf the web and see what’s out there. Don’t take the first job you get offered unless you’re sure that it is a good fit for you.
  2. Do your research – Find out as much as you can about the company. Surf the web, or if you know anyone who has been employed or is employed there, ask him or her what the job and work environment is like. See if there are any reviews or even ratings online (but of course, take this information with a grain a salt. A company should not solely be based on online reviews and scores, which in many cases are biased).
  3. Interview them when they interview you – When having an interview, come prepared to ask questions that will give you the information you need when choosing a job. Find out what the compensation is, what the company stands for and their philosophy, whether there is room to grow in the company, whether there is opportunity for raises and what staff turnover is like. These questions will of course depend on what job you are applying for, but it’s important to gather the information (both general and specific) you need to make a sound decision and to ensure that with taking this job, your needs and wants will be met.
  4. Choose a job that best fits your needs – after doing your research and asking the right questions during the interview, decide which factors play the most important role in your decision. Is it work environment? Compensation? Work place relationships? Work place responsibilities and duties? Working hours? Work place philosophy? Benefits? There are a ton of factors to consider when choosing a job and your decision should be based on what you believe to be most important.
  5. Go with your gut – For the most part, our ‘gut feeling’ i.e. intuition is something we should pay attention to when selecting a job. Some people are more in tuned to their gut than others, but in many scenarios, your gut is usually right. If a job feels too good to be true, it’s because it probably is. If a job just doesn’t feel right, it’s probably because it’s not. If a job feels wonderful, than it very well might be. So long story short, go with your gut!

I hope these tips will help you in your discovery of new, fun filled job opportunities that may arise and which job might be best for you. Take these tips into consideration and they should help you on the right path to your future career. Good luck!

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