Letai: “OFE has helped me prepare for job interviews and learn about teamwork and Canadian culture.”
In this time of uncertainty, good news is more important than ever. That’s why we want to take the time to celebrate our participants’ successes, whether big or small, in the hopes of encouraging you on your job search journey. No matter how difficult or overwhelming the path, small victories lit the way, and OFE is happy to hear those stories from you!
Letai is one of our REDI participants. A refugee from Eritrea, she has lived in Winnipeg for almost two years, and has found, just like many newcomers, that her biggest challenge is finding employment. Upon settling here she was surprised to find winter to be almost likeable and had no trouble adapting to our climate, a remark that resulted in amazed laughs from staff members. She brought with her to Canada experience in food preparation, learned from time spent in Israel, and a natural desire to work hard to achieve her goals.
A life on the run does not give you much time for learning, and while Letai had many practical skills, she struggled to speak English. You can imagine what a challenge it is to find a job in an English-speaking country as a low-English speaker. Despite this, she was determined to make a life here and so took the first steps in growing this skill. Eventually this path led her to OFE, where she took part in job specific training that allowed her to also hone her English.
With the support of OFE staff, she developed interview skills and made progress in her ability to read and write, which enabled her to fill out application forms almost independently; an accomplishment that took only a few months. What a great leap for someone who barely spoke English! She added to her arsenal the ability to use hand tools, a competence in basic computer skills – the learning process having been sped up after OFE moved online – and other essential skills like measuring using the imperial system. She was ready to work!
Today Letai is working part-time and attending weekly meetings at OFE while she looks for a full-time opportunity. Though the shutdown of the city slowed the job search process, her determination and refusal to give up has been her fuel these past weeks. She attends the meetings with a smile and an eagerness to seize this opportunity to continue growing her skills. Her story reminds us to keep moving; to refuse to stay stagnant and use life’s challenges to get us to the next peak, and the next, and the next.
Author: Nelsa Uson, Employer Liaison at OFE