Shehbaz Ahmad

Two months after Shehbaz Ahmad came to Canada from Dubai, the accountant started to feel overwhelmed with the negative messages he was hearing.

People were telling him things like: “It’s going to be very difficult to survive in Vancouver. The economy is not growing. There are 500+ applicants for a single job. You don’t even have a Canadian education or experience.” Someone suggested he get a job in a grocery store. “My mind kind of got frozen. I couldn’t even apply for a single job.”

That was when what he calls his “first miracle” happened. He saw a sign that said, ‘Looking for work?’

He followed the arrow into Vancouver City Centre, WorkBC Employment Services Centre, run by Family Services. “Instantly, I could feel the warmth and a feeling of care in the air.”

He was assigned a case manager, whom he loved. “She didn’t talk about the things that people usually talk about–degrees, qualifications, skills. She listened, and then said what I still remember: ‘Forget the negative things people have told you.’ She made me believe that there was no need to panic.”

Shehbaz enrolled in a Workplace Culture and Social Media workshops, which led him to update his LinkedIn profile. This, in turn, led to a call from a large recruitment firm with a contract position with a big accounting firm. He happened to be with his case manager when he received the phone call. She encouraged him to take it and coached him through it.

She also helped prepare him for the interview process and helped him through his first—and very successful—contract negotiation.

“I am so happy I read that sign that day and walked into to the WorkBC ESC Vancouver City Centre office. That was the best thing I did in Vancouver. They proved to be angels in the new country for me. They are doing a great service, with a human touch.

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