Careers: Train For A New Career

For every seven new immigrants to Canada who are professionals, there are three who are not – and they need jobs too!

If your English is not good, then getting better at it should be your first goal.
With poor English skills, you may be able find some kind of job, but it will probably not pay a big salary or have a promising future. Even if you are employed in a job that serves your own ethnic community, you will sometimes need to deal with the (English-speaking) public: suppliers (the companies who supply your products and equipment), banks, bus drivers, store clerks, telephone and cable companies, city works employees and all sorts of other people.

Without good English, you will not be able to get into most schools and career training courses. But if you work hard and improve your language skills quickly, you will have many more choices. You will be able to enter college, university, or a career-training school. And you are far more likely to get a job with a better future, even if you have to start at the bottom of the ladder (at the lowest position in a company).

You could become an apprentice (someone who is learning on-the-job to become a skilled trades-person). As an apprentice, you can earn money while you learn a trade. To find out how to become an apprentice stone mason, electrician, carpenter, plumber, baker, cook, hairstylist, machinist, mechanic or work in many other trades, call The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities “Training Hotline” at 1-888-JOBGROW (562-4769). Or call the Toronto office at 416-326-5800, the Mississauga office at 905-279-7333 or visit the website www.edu.gov.on.ca.

There is much demand for skilled workers in these fields and if you choose the right field and you are good at your job, you could earn $40,000 a year or more. A high school education is important if you want to succeed as an apprentice.

Apprenticeship isn’t the only way to learn a new trade. You could go to one of the large number of career training schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Courses almost always cost you money, but many will help you get a job after you complete the course.

The Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences Inc. (AAPS) is a licenced career college offering hands-on training for people looking for work in the pharmaceutical industry. The program is popular with newcomers, but if you do not have a Bachelor of Science degree, you can not take the course.
While it does not pay as well to become a cook, security guard or hairdresser, the entry requirements are not as high.

You do not need excellent English-language skills to get into a diploma course at Liaison College of Culinary Arts (a cooking school) or into the ten month hairstyling course at Barbarino’s School of Hairdressing, but you will need a grade 12 education.

To sign up for training as a security guard at Diverse Security Services, you need good oral and written English, but they have no education requirements. You can complete their basic security training course in three days and take advantage of their job placement service.

Most office jobs do require an excellent command of English because they involve typing, speaking to clients and talking on the telephone.

If you hope to be admitted to a school like The Academy of Learning, you need to be a high school graduate, and you will have to complete a written exam that requires good English skills.

As you will see on the list of Career Training Schools, there are schools that teach almost any job. If you want to become a pilot, a music producer, a jeweller or a dog groomer, there is someone who will teach you if you are willing and able to pay the fee for the course.

You should always ask if the school offers a diploma that is recognized by the industry for which you are being trained. Before signing up for any course, it is a good idea to call a business where you would hope to work after you finish the course to ask if graduation from that school would make them more likely to hire you.

If you have not finished high school (or do not have an education in your country that is the same as finishing high school) there is something you can do about it. You can take the GED (General Educational Development) tests and earn an Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate from the Ministry of Education. Employers and colleges recognize it as the same as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

To pass the GED Tests, you need to be able to read in English, to think about what you have read, and to express an opinion in an essay.

So you probably need to reach a CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) level of at least six in your ESL courses to have any hope of passing this test. You can make an appointment to take a 2.5 hour GED Readiness Assessment Test to find out if you are ready to take the five GED tests in the areas of reading, social studies (reading), science (reading), writing and mathematics. Except for part of the mathematics and the essay, all questions on the GED Tests are multiple choice. For more information about GED, call 1-888-433-1211 or visit their website at www.ged.on.ca.

CNM