Key to newcomer success to become 'more Canadian'

Internationally educated professionals need to understand culture, language: Study
||Last Updated: 02/01/2011

Internationally educated professionals (IEPs) are more likely to successfully integrate into the local workforce if they focus on becoming "more Canadian," according to a study commissioned by the Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI).

"We're seeing more internationally trained professionals doing well in their chosen fields," said Silma Roddau, president of PCPI. "They're successful because they know how important it is to understand the Canadian culture to effectively communicate."

The study, Winning Strategies for IEPs Success in the Workplace: Employers' and IEPs' Perspectives, surveyed 168 IEPs and 20 Toronto-region employers within the public, private and non-profit sectors. It found the following strategies have helped these professionals succeed in the workplace:

• Learning to become "more Canadian" by investing in improving language and communication skills.

• Mentoring and coaching by employers to help IEPs understand the workplace and Canadian culture.

• Networking with other professionals within and outside the workforce to better understand the workplace.

The research is based on case studies of IEPs including Dr. Nava Israel, a dietician and educator from Israel who has designed programs for these professionals at Ryerson University.

"The Israeli style of communications is very blunt and simply did not work here," said Isreal. "I had to learn to become 'more Canadian' in the way I communicated, and it made all the difference."

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