Like many immigrants, my story in Canada started about 2.5 years ago when we first landed.
After we settled, I started my journey to find a career path. My background is in Clinical Laboratory as I started as Medical Laboratory Technologist and later, as Laboratory Coordinator. To work in the same position here, I need to validate my diploma and get a certification, a process that is expensive and takes time. Plus, I guess after all this process I would have to start to work on shifts, and this could be a problem as I have two kids under 6. I wanted to go back to work, even if it is not on the same area, I was confident that I had enough experience and knowledge that I could use in any job position. But job searching was a total nightmare, I sent a lot of resumes and not even got a single reply.
Then I discovered Skills for Change’s Health Informatics Bridging Program. I was not even sure what it was, but I wanted to try it. And it was rightful decision for my career. Despite the pandemic situation, lockdown, and online classes, taking this program was a life changing. During the program we had morning sessions to learn about the opportunities related to Health Informatics area and afternoon sessions regarding employment topics. It was a perfect combination to help me to find out my next steps to work on my career and gave me confidence to recognize my strengths, how to work on my weaknesses and most importantly my transferable skills.
It’s difficult to choose what was the best part of the program, because every day we had a lot to learn, it was very exciting to know that I have a lot of opportunities ahead, just need to recognize which path I wanted to take and what should I do to achieved it. And SFC certainly helped me a lot. I cannot choose the best part, I can certainly tell what the most precious and valuable experience I had, it was making connections. I had the opportunity to learn from a lot of experienced guest speakers, valuable instructors that always were there for us and most importantly, my classmates. It was great feeling I am not the only one facing all this challenges by moving to a new country, all of them with different background and so much to share.
I also faced some challenges during the program. Initially I thought 8 weeks was a lot of time, but it was not. We were daily learning new concepts, requiring a lot of research. And even taking the program online, we had some hands-on activities. It was great to solidify what we were learning, but the lack of person interactions, as we would have in a physical class, brought some hard time for some of us. Still, nothing that could impact our learning experience.
My advice for all newcomers that have background in Health area, that do not give up! I have not heard about HI until I knew it from SFC, this program does not exist in my home country. As experienced professionals we don’t need to start from the beginning, we just need help to find out what other opportunities we could use our experiences and knowledge and find out what skills we need to a new career. We do have Skills for Change, we just need to identify them.