Positive energy and spirit exudes from Palestinian Ahmed Almashharawi. The medical radiation technologist proudly announces he’s had eight jobs since landing in Canada in 2010, while studying for his papers allowing him to work in his specialty.
Ahmed had studied and worked in Iraq and then returned to his home of Palestine where he continued to work in his profession. He met and married Ayah, a visiting Canadian who is a biology and mathematics graduate of Dalhousie University. Three years later they came to Canada with their two children, now 5 and 4, soon to be joined by a son, now almost two. Although Ahmed had studied in English, he had concerns about his language skills, how to adapt, how to work with people and rent an apartment. “It was a little bit difficult but my friends told me ISANS will guide you to start your life here.”
An ISANS Employment Specialist was particularly helpful. “I can’t describe her,” he says with awe. “I respect her. You can’t imagine how much ISANS is helping me.” Ahmed participated in Pre-Employment Workshops, the First Aid Course and the Career Access Fund that helps pay for training for career re-entry. He took the intense Communication for Health Care Professionals program as well. “I improved my language and at the same time they took us to hospitals to learn about the health care system.” He found the course difficult, but worthwhile.
Ahmed worked hard to prepare for his radiology exams, including taking two online courses. One day he wandered into the medical school to ask for help and was permitted to audit appropriate courses to brush up on his knowledge. He also continued to work. “I always liked to work, to see people. I never stayed home,” says Ahmed.
His jobs were varied: assisting a kitchen designer/carpenter, which wasn’t his forté; computer-assisted ordering with the SuperStore which he left because of the commuting distance; a temporary contract with Canada Post; and one month at the Bulk Barn where the hours ultimately interfered with his studies. He assembled furniture and barbecues at Home Depot, a job he particularly took pride in. “I once did 15 barbecues in eight hours. I’m a hard worker and they were happy with me!” He also worked in merchandising services, and for MaxSys, a staffing/consulting company. Ahmed always felt bad to leave a job, but his focus was to be accepted back into his profession.
The exams were difficult, but he passed on his third try and is now employed with Capital Health. He is the first immigrant candidate to be accepted into this profession here. Although Ahmed is a casual employee, he happily worked nine days straight during his first three weeks. He also continues to work on call for a computer maintenance company upgrading computer systems and solving problems.
“I have 12 years experience in my field. I didn’t come here to work at Sobey’s or Superstore. I love my job. Without ISANS I wouldn’t have achieved my goals.”