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Career Edge Achievement Awards celebrate successes in socio-economic sustainability

For recent graduates and newcomers joining the Canadian workforce, finding meaningful work opportunities that align with their desired career path is a critical – albeit challenging – step towards becoming successful and prosperous members of Canada’s society and economy.

Recognizing the socio-economic significance of connecting the right talent with the right jobs, many organizations and individuals have demonstrated leadership and cultivated innovative employment solutions, allowing more people to make an investment in their career.

On June 5, Career Edge – a self-sustaining social enterprise – celebrated the achievements of those who have successfully launched or helped launch meaningful careers in Canada at its annual Achievement Awards ceremony.

Leadership in socio-economic sustainability
As a founding member, Scotiabank has remained a committed partner of Career Edge since 1996. “18 years is a long time; during that time a lot of leaders and champions have come and gone from Scotiabank,” said Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge. “What is remarkable is through all of that, the sustainability of our partnership has never wavered,” he said.

Two champions at Scotiabank in particular, Scott McAthey and Afsana Chawala, have demonstrated leadership by hiring a significant number of Career Edge interns in the past year. Their combined efforts have contributed to nearly 300 internships at Scotiabank, 100 of which were filled by interns with disabilities.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” said McAthey with regards to hiring interns with disabilities. “Regardless of your particular abilities, we should be able to work together to get the best from the individuals so that we can get the results we want for our organization.”

Chawala has also experienced success with Career Edge’s internship programs in her division of Scotiabank’s Human Resources Centre. This success led her to integrate the programs in four other departments of the bank. “The interns want to work. They have the drive, the passion and the commitment to complete the task,” she says.

“They have a very positive attitude and always display the ‘can do’ attitude. I strongly recommend all people managers to give them…and the program…a chance.”

Innovation for immigrant employment solutions
RBC has had a long-standing history of success with Career Edge, having hired over 600 interns from all three paid internship programs for recent graduates, recent graduates with disabilities, and internationally qualified professionals.

Building on this positive track record, RBC, in partnership with Career Edge, developed an innovative and inspirational solution to help their small and medium-sized business clients connect with high-potential, internationally qualified candidates that fit their employment needs.

The RBC-Career Edge (formerly Career Bridge) Associate Host Program gives small businesses a low risk, cost-effective recruitment option, while connecting newcomers with roles that commensurate with their level of skills and global experience.

So far, this innovative program has helped 24 interns re-launch their careers in Canada, which is what led to RBC being recognized as the first recipient of the Innovation Award.

Intern of the Year
After immigrating to Canada in 2012, Ronald Jacinto struggled to find work that reflected his professional-level experience in engineering, earned in the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

After completing a couple of part-time “survival” jobs, Jacinto registered with Career Edge, through which he was hired as an Electrical Designer Intern at Spectra Engineering Ltd. During his six-month internship, Jacinto exceeded the expectations of the principals, resulting in a full-time offer.

“Whatever we ask, he’s able to fulfil and in a timely manner, which is what we need,” said Sean Cobham, one of Spectra’s principals and Ronald’s mentor. “If we had an army of Ronalds, we would probably be on top of the whole industry.”

After achieving full-time work in his field, Jacinto reflected on his internship saying, “It changed the way my family enjoys Canada. Before we were very stressed out; our money was running out and we couldn’t find a job. Now we get to enjoy what Canada has to offer.”

Mentor of the Year
Joshua Stainton launched his career in 2007 as a Career Edge intern at GE Canada. Stainton was retained, and is now mentoring new Career Edge interns joining his team at GE.

Since 2012, Stainton mentored three interns, all of whom nominated him for the Mentor of the Year Award.

Mehreen Khan, one of Stainton’s interns, explained that his experience as a former intern is what makes him an ideal mentor. “He knew what I would expect from my internship, and what he would expect from me,” Khan said, “He had faith in us, he believes in us, he invests in us. He always finds opportunities to help us in our careers. Our team’s success is his success, and that’s what makes Josh a great mentor.”

Celebrating partnerships for immigrant success
ACCES Employment partnered with Career Edge in 2003 to support the launch of the Career Bridge (now referred to as Career Edge’s paid internships for internationally qualified professionals) paid internship program for internationally qualified professionals.

Since then, ACCES and Career Edge have continued to build on a synergistic foundation, to connect more newcomers with meaningful paid internship opportunities.

Varsha Nanda, an internationally qualified IT professional from India, perfectly represents the success that has come from the partnership. After immigrating to Canada in 2013, Nanda participated in the IT Connections program offered by ACCES, which prepared her for Canada’s labour market. Shortly following the program, Nanda was referred to Career Edge and was successful in obtaining an internship as a Project Coordinator at one of Canada’s largest banks.

“Career Edge and ACCES Employment have a very common goal,” said Allison Pond, Executive Director at ACCES. “We help newcomers who are looking to work in their fields of expertise, and then we also work with employers and engage employers in understanding the expertise that new Canadians bring. It’s a really perfect fit, in terms of collaboration and working in partnership.”

Career Edge thanks and congratulates the winners of this year’s Achievement Awards, and looks forward to celebrating future successes with these exceptional individuals and organizations committed to Canada’s socio-economic sustainability.