Since 2005, Windmill Microlending has been supporting newcomers to Canada. We offer microloans to help pay for the licensing or training immigrants and refugees need to restart their careers in Canada. As a registered charity, we’ve loaned $22M to 4,000 newcomers across the country.
By sharing in the settlement and employment journey of 4,000 clients, we’ve seen many successes and we have also seen our clients face setbacks. Here are our top four pieces of advice on how to successfully restart your career in Canada.
#1: Do your research and get good advice.
Figuring out what steps to take in order to restart your career in Canada can be overwhelming and confusing. The plan you have in mind at the beginning may need to be adjusted, and certain elements may take longer than you anticipate. Before you commit your time and money to a particular direction, reach out for a second opinion from a career or settlement counsellor.
#2: Figure out what else is keeping you from the employment you want.
In many cases, more education does not always equal a better job. The barrier to the work you want may be a specific exam or license, or it might not be about credentials at all. Language skills and other “soft skills” (like networking or interviewing) may be as important or, in some cases, more important.
#3: Make a budget that considers both money and time.
Figuring out how much your education, training or licensing plan will cost is important, but there are other critical considerations. Will you need to change your work or childcare responsibilities to study or prepare for exams? If so, will that impact your income and budget? Do you have a plan to generate income while you are gaining your credentials, particularly if it takes longer than expected?
#4: Be sure that a loan is the best tool for you.
At Windmill Microlending, our goal is to help skilled immigrants and refugees restart their careers. Our loans can be a very useful tool to help our clients achieve this goal, especially if you have a household budget in place and/or you’d like to build or improve your credit score. However, you should also consider all options available to you (such as loans or bursaries) which don’t require repayment. There are also times when taking a loan could be detrimental to your success, like during a period of emotional or family upheaval, or if you are already in a precarious financial situation (such as bankruptcy, or if you already have a lot of debt).
If the high cost of education, training and licensing is keeping you from restarting your career, a microloan can be an excellent tool to help you overcome that barrier. Take a look at our two-minute Eligibility Quiz to find out if a loan from Windmill could be right for you.
Originally published by Newcomers Canada online and in the reRoute monthly newsletter.