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Meet Tonia, a Canada InfoNet participant from Nigeria

“Take ownership for your learning,” says Canada InfoNet participant, Tonia Aigbokhae. Tonia who recently immigrated to Canada, was referred to Canada InfoNet by our partner agency, Planning For Canada. In this article, she beautifully shares her experience as a participant in the program and how it benefitted her.

My name is Tonia Aigbokhae and I am a new Canadian immigrant who just relocated from Nigeria.

With just a few months away from finally immigrating to Canada from Nigeria, I had already begun my countdown. I was excited but also overwhelmed. Excited to embark on a whole new adventure and experience but overwhelmed by the thoughts of moving far away from family, friends, the life I was accustomed to, and having to now re-join the “job search” community all over again.

I was no stranger to living abroad as I had lived and studied abroad for both my bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, so adapting to my new environment was not going to be much of a challenge, hence the main challenge being the new career journey.

With that, I began my research into the job market in Canada and if browser tabs could speak, mine would have yelled and scolded me because I had opened too many tabs, combed through numerous websites, and got lost in so much information. I kept at it but still needed some guidance to properly understand the job market in Canada and how best to get in, so when I learned about Canada InfoNet through Canada’s pre-arrival services, it felt like an answer to a prayer.

Canada InfoNet provided me with personalized job search support, adequate resources to ease my career transition, and a great occupation-specific mentorship program in the weeks leading up to my arrival in Canada.

Before the mentorship program, I never had a career mentor, at least not officially, so naturally, I was quite curious but also wondered whether my potential mentor would be a good fit.

Shortly after signifying my interest in the mentorship program, I was paired with Annie, who up until this moment, has been nothing short of amazing.

My mentor and I built a good rapport and she assisted and supported me in further preparing for the journey ahead. Not only is she my mentor, but also now a good friend that keeps my best interests in mind and is always willing to share her professional contacts with me, to aid my career journey here in Canada.

Through the mentorship program, I received firsthand insight into the job market and workplace culture in Canada, improved on my job search and networking strategies, and received numerous resources for interviews and resume customization.

All those wonderful resources have now equipped me with better strategies to advance my search and have allowed me to explore alternative job roles and career paths that are suitable for my skills and experience. Through my mentor, I have gotten referrals, established new professional contacts within my sectors of interest, and learned the significance of effective networking.

I am glad I bypassed the nerve-racking process of having to figure everything out myself and proud that I decided to sign up for the mentorship program, as it has been immensely beneficial to me, even post-arrival to Canada. I can now boldly say that I have a solid professional support system, thanks to the program and my mentor, Annie.

For new immigrants who are planning to move soon, I would advise that you:

  • Sign up for the mentorship program and utilize the resources available to you.
  • Do not wait on your mentor to do all the work for you, set your personal goals.
  • Be proactive with your research and be honest with yourself regarding where you are in your career and where you want to be and work towards that with the support of your mentor.
  • Remember, just like any relationship or partnership, you always need to put in the work and establish trust.
  • Stay curious and ask questions and if you have any concerns or reservations during the duration of the mentorship, do not hesitate to reach out to your Canada InfoNet employment specialist.

Lastly, maximize the mentorship partnership and any new professional contacts you might gain from it and ensure that by the end of the program, you have not only increased your employability but equipped yourself with the right tools to help you succeed in Canada.