Online Services a Lifeline for Newcomers

Michael Maslowski knows an effective online service when he sees one. The Polish information technology expert—he earned his Master’s and his PhD in IT—is impressed that he could prepare for work in Canada before leaving home by taking the ISANS online pre-employment program. “ISANS came up at the top of my searches. It provided indispensable value to me as an immigrant.”

Michael arrived with his wife and son in 2010 feeling mentally prepared. “It was time consuming — about two days a week — but extremely beneficial to get into the mindset of the Canadian worker.” He quickly found a job he considered a good starting point, then moved on to Research in Motion, and now works as a technical support specialist with ADP Canada, a business solutions company.

ISANS has long been considered a national leader in online services for newcomers — both pre and post-arrival. Videoconferencing; online courses and  workshops in writing, communication, business and job-hunting skills; training courses for instructors—ISANS is a pioneer and continues to expand its online presence as technology changes and grows. “Online learning is good for our carbon footprint and it’s flexible for people with busy lives,” says Kathy Burnett, Manager of Skills and Language Development (Online Learning). ISANS is leading a new provincial initiative called Nova Scotia Start that helps immigrants — before and after arrival — successfully settle in the province. In collaboration with La Fédération Acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (FANE) and the Nova Scotia Association of Regional Development Authorities (NSARDA), Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia provides clients with information, referral, help with pre-employment and business skills, and opportunities to enhance communication, regardless of where they choose to settle in the province.

ISANS Online services has over 1,000 registered users

“One of the government’s priorities is to make a push to encourage immigrants to settle outside metro,” explains Kathy. “This allows us to respond and support their priorities by diversifying our learning options. “ ISANS continues to innovate by also offering needs assessments and employment counselling for people outside HRM.

For those outside Canada, such as Michael, the distance courses create opportunities to research particular professions, find appealing workplaces and learn about any necessary credential recognition. There is also practical help with such things as workplace culture, writing skills, resumes and interviews. “ISANS allows people to build their skills and gives them an understanding of their core strengths coming to Canada,” says Michael. “It was an eye-opener. When I landed here, I knew what to expect.”

Read more stories of Innovation & Impact in our 2012 Annual Report