One of Halifax’s greatest challenges in the next decade is attracting and retaining highly skilled and educated talent.
Over the past few years, the Partnership, in collaboration with many of you, has used its Halifax Connector Program to help immigrants and newcomers find their way to gainful and appropriate employment here in Halifax.
This is the second of seven stories showing what you have made possible.
Two-thirds of Canada’s entire population would fit in Huijing He’s hometown of Shanghai, a city described by Wikipedia as the ‘birthplace of everything modern in China.’ Yet she left it all behind to pursue a commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University in a city with less than half a million people – and only 1 percent is Chinese.
“I was very much interested in North American culture,” says Huijing, who goes by her English nickname, Sisley, chosen for her favourite fashion designer. “I was bored at university at home and thought it would be a great opportunity to study abroad while I was young.” Upon graduation with her degree in finance in May 2010, Sisley decided to stay in Halifax.
“I like it here. The population is smaller, there are no line-ups, less traffic and the clean air is good too! Most of what I learned was about Canadian economics so I thought it would be good to stay here, work for a few years, and put what I learned into practice. Then I can contribute a little bit back here too.”
Sisley began her work search using the Partnership’s Connector Program. “An international student who was a friend of mine told me about the program. He had been ‘connected’ and found a six-month contract.” He introduced Sisley to the Partnership’s Connector Project Coordinator, Cindy Dean, who connected her to Dina ¬Pellosis Tabuzo at Royal Bank of Canada and Joyce LaBossiere at World Financial Group. These banking contacts helped Sisley with her resume and “they helped me improve myself.
“It was nice talking with them because I got ideas about looking for jobs and I think at the end of September, Joyce got back to me and told me a friend of hers was looking to fill an internship position at AEG Financial Services in Bedford.
“I contacted the person at AEG who turned out to be the owner of the company and we just started talking. At the end of the interview, I got the job.
“The whole process with the Connector Program went very well for me. I met two Connectors and that is pretty much how I got my job. I think people have to make the most of it when you meet someone new. Once there is a chance [for a job], you have to really try hard to get it.”
From Shanghai to Halifax. For Sisley, Halifax is where great things happen – in a small size.