Overview

Urania Zepeda had been working as a legal assistant for a long time in her native Nicaragua when she immigrated to Canada in 2014 in search of a better future for her family. But Fate dealt Urania a cruel blow when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness soon after they arrived here. She was emotionally and financially broken when she connected with the Skills and Support for Job Success program, but joining the program proved to be a turning point for Urania – one that has seen her overcome her personal and employment challenges, and look forward to the future with hope and optimism.

Services Applied
  • Employment-focused workshops
  • Information on community resources
  • Resume and cover letter preparation
  • Labour market research; accessing the hidden job market
  • Specialized assessments and contacting employers directly
  • Job development and placement, wage subsidy

Challenges

Urania‘s journey to a new life in Canada started with an unexpected misfortune: her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness immediately after the family arrived in Vancouver. He passed away after a lengthy struggle with the illness. Emotionally and financially devastated, Urania needed to earn a living but her employment challenges were formidable: low English, lack of knowledge about the Canadian job market and where her skills and experience fit, lack of familiarity with Canadian job search strategies, lack of appropriate resumes and employment network, and extreme emotional distress and low self-esteem. Urania did not know where to start in applying for jobs.

Solutions

Employment counsellors at the Skills & Supports for Job Success (Vancouver) saw the foremost task being to provide Urania the support to boost her self-esteem and confidence. Personality, career and aptitude assessments helped Urania know more about herself and her strengths, and the various career options open to her. She attended workshops and learned about community resources and how to access these. She underwent one-on-one counselling sessions that helped her make the right choices for her career. She improved her English which increased her confidence in interacting with employers. And although Urania is still a few steps away from achieving her goal of returning to her career as a paralegal assistant, SSJS has helped Urania deal with most of her barriers and opened her eyes to the options available to her in the interim.

Outcome

In spite of her language barrier, Urania was able to get a full-time entry-level position as a Book Binder. Though the position was not related to her long-term goal, she saw this opportunity as a first step towards her career goal. The job gave Urania the chance to practise English, gain Canadian work experience and reclaim her confidence and self-esteem. She has successfully entered the job market and is able to take care of her family. She’s also taking language classes and is looking forward enthusiastically for a better future for herself and her family!

“I was thrilled to be a part of Job Success. I am so grateful to the program team for being a part of my dream. With no hesitation, I strongly recommend this program to people who are striving to start a new life in Canada. This program has done miracles for me. It can do the same for you.”