Humans of Skills for Change: Ruth Mengistu
1. What do you do at Skills for Change?
I am an Intake and Referral Counsellor for Communication for the Canadian Workplace, a free 5-week program now offered virtually. My program assists internationally-educated engineers, architects and IT professionals to improve their knowledge of the Canadian labour market, Canadian workplace culture, communication and job search skills . Mentoring and WHMIS training are also included. Intake involves verifying the client’s immigration status (Permanent Resident or Convention Refugee), work experience and language level (Canadian Language Benchmarks). As a secondary role at SFC, I assist individuals from certain countries to obtain an assessment of their academic credentials through the WES Gateway program.
2. How did you first learn about Skills for Change?
In April 2009, a representative from The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks told me that Skills for Change was looking for a CLB language assessor (at that time, SFC was doing fee-for-service language assessments). I applied and was hired.
3. What does it mean for you to work at SFC?
I came to SFC with a background as an ESL instructor at the college level. However, given the large numbers in college classes, I rarely had the opportunity to get to know students as individuals. SFC has allowed me to connect with newcomers on an individual level and I am proud to be able to support our clients in their transition to a new life in Canada.
4. What is your favourite part about working at SFC?
In addition to helping clients – of course – I love being part of a group of individuals that really care.
5. What are you most proud of in your life?
I have been able to overcome many obstacles: physical, emotional and financial.
6. What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who have overcome physical, emotional and financial obstacles.
7. What’s the best advice you could give someone?
As Wayne Gretsky, the great hockey player said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Failure is an opportunity for growth.
8. What’s your favourite quote?
“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?” (Robert Browning, English poet)
9. Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that not many people know of?
I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Kuk Sool Won (a traditional Korean martial art) and am an Advanced Level scuba diver. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, I’m not able to do either right now.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Please give. When you are good to others, you are the best to yourself.