In March, MOSAIC partnered with the Immigrant Services Society of BC and DIVERSEcity to host the International Professionals Conference in Burnaby. The intent of the conference was to inform internationally-trained professionals about Canadian workplace and job search expectations. Registration filled quickly with more than 300 people attending the session.
Internationally-recognized speaker and author Lionel Laroche opened the conference addressing a key challenge many new Canadians face. According to Laroche, many immigrants arrive in Canada with extensive technical skills but a lack of soft skills. His perspective is that these technical skills are still valuable, they just need to be augmented with soft skill development. Laroche explained that skills such as human relations, communications and presentation are attributes that are cultivated in Canadians from a young age and for immigrants to be successful in the Canadian labour market they must augment their technical skills with refinement in these other skills.
Laroche also stressed the value in making job search a full-time activity. He stressed that job seekers should be investing at least 40 hours per week in job search and the majority of that time should be spent connecting with people face-to-face. Laroche argues that many job seekers cling to their homes and computers, feeling the interpersonal expectations of networking are too difficult. He shared his own experience of coming from France, attending an engineering professional group, and suddenly being elected the group