NWPB's Immigrant Mentorship Program aims to give Niagara's highly trained newcomers increased opportunities to succeed through networking opportunities and one-on-one guidance from local professionals in their field. Participants who sign on as mentees each gain important connections and experiences they may not otherwise have been able to access, and come away with unique stories that we always love hearing about.
We want to highlight some of the personal stories of some of our recent program participants, starting this month with Marcela Torres. Marcela shares with us the story of her mentorship experience, and how her mentoring partnership has benefited her life and career here in Canada.
My name is Marcela Torres. I am from Colombia. I am a Language teacher. I started the ELTE program at Niagara College. I started the program because I wanted to have a better understanding of Canadian workplace culture and how I could get involved in it. I explored different options and then I realized that I have to be more flexible in terms of career path. I mean, I was a teacher but if I wanted to become a teacher here, I would have to go to teachers' college for 2 more years, and then wait for a teaching opportunity. That was when I met Josie from Niagara Workforce Planning Board and she invited me to be part of the mentorship program. I was really excited about the idea of having a mentor who could guide me through this transition and explore other options related to my field where I could keep growing in professional and personal terms.
I met my mentor in January, 2019. I shared my experience with her and then she started guiding me. She showed me what it was like to work at a library. I am familiar with libraries, however, not at this level of complexity. We visited different libraries and we met frequently to talk about programs in the library field. Those meetings, apart from being very important to me, gave me many other things. For example, I could ask her not only about the library field, but also, specific things about Canadian culture, and about life in general. I consider I have been able to develop more confidence through this program and I feel somebody cares about me. I have learned from my mentor to be more organized, to think in different ways, to be engaged with the community, and to prepare better for an interview.
Now that I have a different perspective by exploring a different path, I can see that it is possible to be engaged and use all the skills you have developed in your life and apply those to any career path you choose. I also learned from my mentor to include fun activities in my life, because studying and working are not all in life. I learned to set specific goals and work for them and to keep a positive mind, because every interview is an opportunity to be hired, but also, an opportunity to improve your skills and to train yourself for future interviews. I also have learned the importance of giving, I see how my mentor cares about every project and how professional she is. She has excellent time management skills and I am trying to follow her model.
I would totally recommend this program to every person who wants to make a significant impact on others’ lives and for mentees, this is the best opportunity to be guided and to find the best of you to become a better professional in Canada.
Are you interested in NWPB’s Immigrant Mentorship Program? We invite you to connect with Josie to learn more about how we're working to foster a more inclusive Niagara.