From the Ice Rink to CRIEC
A New Style of Coaching!
As an engineer for more than 30 years, Steve Worthington has had a lot of opportunity to experience different cultures.
“I have been blessed with a wonderful career. I’ve traveled with work all around the world – from Europe to India and parts of Asia,” shares Steve.
Steve also experienced new cultures through working with Internationally Trained Professionals (ITPs).
Photo credit: Micaela Parente
“In engineering you come across a lot of diversity. I have been on teams where we were all originally from different countries, and that makes the work environment really neat,” he adds.
Diversity has many advantages on a team, but Steve also saw some of the barriers his colleagues faced in the workforce.
“I saw Canadians (including myself) move to new opportunities over time and at the same time watched some of my teammates who were internationally trained face challenges,” he adds.
It can be especially challenging breaking into the Canadian workforce as a professional. Some ITP’s can benefit from additional support in resume writing, career planning, interview skills and language since they are new to Canada.
The Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) is designed to support international talent with strategies that assist in their career path planning. One strategy is one-on-one mentoring from a Canadian in the same professional field. When Steve learned about CRIEC’s mentorship program, he signed up right away.
“Volunteering is a big part of my life. For 15 years I was a hockey coach and found that very rewarding. I heard about the CRIEC mentorship program at the same time as my hockey coaching was wrapping up and I thought it was a great opportunity to take my coaching skills in a new direction.”
Steve signed up for the 16 week program that is run by CRIEC in partnership with Bow Valley College. He was introduced to his first mentee, Milena, an engineer from Colombia.
“I have learned as much from her over those 16 weeks as she has learned from me. I believe I was able to coach her on Canadian business culture, applying for jobs and what to expect during the application and interview process. She ended up landing a job as an engineer here in Calgary, which is fantastic. And I learned all about her culture and by the end made a new friend. Our families got to know each other and we still get together on a regular basis.”
Every mentoring relationship is different, but being open minded can steer the relationship in a good direction.
Steve believes it was important to listen to what his mentee wanted from the mentorship relationship. And, he admits he had to commit to making time for the mentoring program.
“It was a commitment, but really rewarding in many ways. I would highly recommend volunteering as a mentor for anyone looking to connect and support someone in a very meaningful and impactful way.”
And with a little experience now behind him, Steve prepares himself for round two.
“I just signed up for my second session and cannot wait to see who I am connected with!”
CRIEC builds pathways and positive relationships between Calgary employers and internationally trained professionals (ITPs) that encourage hiring and retention.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Milton Berle