Connector Program and EduNova light the path to opportunity for newcomers

Posted: September 6, 2022

For newcomers looking to make professional connections in Halifax — and the jobs that can spring from that — the pandemic has had a dampening effect. But there are many ways newcomers and international students can learn about the local job market, build their local network, and connect to opportunities both virtually and in person.

EduNova facilitates the Study and Stay™ - Nova Scotia Program, a program that helps international students build their resumes, secure mentorship, and network with professionals in the industries they hope to join. Halifax Partnership works closely with EduNova, partnering on the annual BEST Conference for international students and working with each Study and Stay cohort to help participants build their local professional network through Connector Programs in Nova Scotia.

The Study and Stay™ Nova Scotia program is designed for international students in their final year of study and provides a comprehensive cohort-based model of learning. The program is free to international students who qualify, and are selected, and is focused on core areas: intercultural and professional communication, early career and pre-employment support, networking, and community integration, as well as providing immigration resources and pathways to permanent residency for international students.

“A core part of the program, and where we see some of the ‘magic’ happen, is in the quality and quantity of opportunities for students to build professional relationships and foster connections that matter,” says Jennifer Wesman, EduNova’s Senior Manager of Student Success and Retention.

Nishka Rajesh and Celia Deer are Program Coordinators with the Halifax Partnership’s Connector Program. They help young professionals and newcomers to Halifax meet people, make connections, and be visible on the job market —and both found their roles thanks to EduNova.

Through the Connector Program, they share information with international students and newcomers (called Connectees) about the local market and how to go about a career search. They also work with Connectees to improve their resumes and interview skills before matching with them an industry Connector who helps them build their professional network through referrals.

“I had studied psychology, and at first I wasn’t sure how the Study and Stay™ - Nova Scotia program might help people outside the fields of business or marketing,” says Rajesh, who was born in India and most recently lived in Oman before coming to Canada. “I went anyway to get my name out there, and to meet people. Now, that’s my purpose and my career. It’s ultimately up to each person to do the work, but programs like EduNova’s Study and Stay program and the Connector Program put all the pieces in place.

I’ve seen people stand up at an event and share their hopes for a dream job, and [through the Connector Program] we’ve been able to pass along names and resumes that have led to conversations and new hires. We give everyone a chance to make a good impression and do what we can to help all the puzzle pieces fall into place.”

Starting as an international student representative at NSCC shortly after she arrived from Jamaica, Deer learned about the BEST Conference hosted by EduNova, the Connector Program, and post-secondary institutions supporting international students to stay in Nova Scotia. During a panel at the virtual conference last year, Deer got the chance to not only learn about how she could stay in the province, but she met her future boss.

“At the EduNova breakout room, I learned about how to apply for the Study and Stay™ - Nova Scotia program, which I did,” says Deer. “That’s how I wound up being a Connector coordinator. Now I get to pass along the help I received. I tell my clients to stand out from the crowd and be memorable. My personal mantra is to be the best part of somebody’s day, and that’s helped me get to where I am today.”

Rajesh and Deer have the right energy to support others, and a willingness to think outside the box. They are part of a growing number of Study and Stay Alumni who are eager to support other international students and young professionals.

Deer sums up the spirit of EduNova, the Connector Program, and other programs available to help newcomers build a life in Nova Scotia: “Believe in yourself. If you don’t, you never know what the outcome will be. It is better to try than not to try. Take the chance.”

Applications for the Study and Stay™ program are currently open until information September 26th and can be found on EduNova’s program webpage.



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