Dharmvishal Barot’s story is a common one among newcomers in Canada: he completed a university degree and post-graduate diploma in India, and worked with street youth there before immigrating to Canada in 2007.
He was keen to transfer his skills, education and work experience to the field of social work and social services in Canada, but after job hunting and volunteering for 2 years he still couldn’t find the right job.
One of his friends, who was also a recent immigrant to Canada, had completed the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice program at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and recommended it to him as an effective way to gain Canadian experience and education, and enter the social work field.
Dharmvishal contacted the co-ordinator of the program at The Chang School and, based on his education and work experience from India, he was accepted to the Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) bridging program.
Balancing continuing education and a job
New immigrants often face a difficult time pursuing continuing education, Dharmvishal says, because they must work sometimes low-paying jobs to survive, leaving little time for extra endeavours.
But the program Dharmvishal completed at The Chang School only required attending class for 2 days a week, leaving the rest of the week to work and make ends meet. “It’s not that hard and you can do it,” he says.
Getting a job through a student work placement
Dharmvishal says the courses provided in the Canadian Social Work Practice program have made him a complete social worker – especially the anti-oppressive framework within which the course material is taught. The program also required him to complete a field practicum which ultimately led to full-time employment as a Housing Counsellor at the John Howard Society of Toronto.