Securing employment in the health care industry in Canada as an immigrant is a daunting task. When Ahmed Almashharawi arrived in Halifax from Palestine in 2010 with the goal of working as an x-ray technologist, he didn’t know where to start.
It was difficult at the beginning, and then things started coming together. On the advice of friends who had lived in Canada for several years, he began taking courses through Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Focusing on improving his English, he enrolled in a program called Communication for Health Care Professionals. The program is specifically intended for internationally educated health care professionals who want to secure employment in Canada. It also connects participants to health care employees on a regular basis. For Ahmed, this led to a meeting with Brian Martell, the manager of molecular imaging and equipment services at Capital Health.
“The most important thing for anyone who wants to come to Canada is to meet people here who are working in the field you wish to work in,” Ahmed says. “Before I met Brian Martell, I had met so many other people and no one was able to help me in the way I needed them to because they worked in different fields.”
After practicing interview skills with Brian, Ahmed felt more confident when preparing for the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) exam. Brian provided valuable feedback about what Ahmed needed to focus on going forward, and what books to buy. As soon as Ahmed obtained his CAMRT license, he learned they were hiring at Capital Health in the General Imaging department. He got the job.
During one of Ahmed’s first days at work, he ran into Brian. They had kept in touch for years via email. Once they met again at Capital Health, they became fast friends who visited during breaks and went for coffee outside of work.
“Honestly, he’s become one of my best friends here and he’s still supporting me and guiding me,” Ahmed says, “If I need anything, he’s the first person who comes to my mind.”
Ahmed and Brian’s friendship demonstrates the importance of making connections through organizations like ISANS. Not only does ISANS prepare individuals for the job market, it also provides valuable networking opportunities that can lead to long lasting, important relationships.