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Unique Regina event connects new immigrants with tech sector jobs

Unique Regina event connects new immigrants with tech sector jobs
Victoria Flores with the Open Door Society says the goal of the Tech Skills Showcase is to connect Saskatchewan newcomers with potential employers.

Priyanka Pathak has 10 years of experience in software engineering and a master’s degree in information technology. New to Canada, Pathak hopes to find a job in her field in Regina.

The 33-year-old from India was one of the 19 international developers now living in the city to participate in the Open Door Society’s Tech Skills Showcase Thursday at Innovation Place.

“I really want to contribute to the IT sector,” said Pathak, part of a team building a website from scratch.

“It’s fun because of they (participants) are all [from] different parts of the world and they all have their different mindset to develop the application,” she said of her group mates. “It is really challenging, how you can put all this thought into the one application.”

READ MORE: Lack of Canadian references, experience causes barriers for newcomers at job fair

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Showcase participants work in groups to come up with tech solutions to complex socioeconomic issues. Pathak’s team was designing a platform through which people could submit environmental concerns.

The goal is to connect newcomers with potential employers.

Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector
Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Victoria Flores was working with the Open Door Society’s employment office three years ago when she came up with the idea after seeing highly-educated and talented immigrants struggling to find jobs.

“They’re competing with maybe a large pool, or their references are in a different time zone, or at an interview they might not be able to talk about what they’re doing in a way they might be able to do in their first language,” Flores said.

“This way is kind of show, instead of tell.”

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Mentors from Solvera Solutions, Cansoft Technologies, SaskTel International and SaskPower were onsite to observe and recruit talent.

READ MORE: Employment rate of recent immigrants to Canada reached new high last year: Memo

“One of the things I love seeing is just the energy and enthusiasm of the people who participate,” said Rob Anderson, innovation solutions and mobility manager for SaskPower.

“We’ve had a lot of success with this event.”

“There have been a lot of people who have [gotten] jobs as a result.”

This is the third iteration of the Open Door Society’s event. Flores estimates it has helped about half of the people who have come out to find work.