Your Cybersecurity Career Starts Here

CultureLink Cybersecurity Training Program

On May 31st, our CultureLink Cybersecurity Training Program started yet another cohort with 13 new students.

The training is divided in two parts. The first part, called Canadian Career Development, is a 5-day workshop that assists students with the job search process and introduces them to the Canadian workplace culture. Participants learn to build a resume and cover letter that fit the job market, and equips them with the skills to succeed in job interviews.

Before they move on to the second part of the training, students have also expanded their knowledge on the cybersecurity field: the types of job opportunities, the demand and supply in the market and the skills employers require.

Professional Development

On June 3rd, as the first part of the training was coming to a close, all students participated of a Professional Development / Networking Event with June Leung and Eric Halliwell from Moneris.

These events give students the opportunity to get insights from experts in the field.

Our guests spoke about the various roles within the cybersecurity field, and explained in detail the main functions of each of them, giving participants a better understanding of possible pathways.

They focus of their presentation was Identity Assessment Management and talked about the benefits of working in this area of Cybersecurity:

  1. It is not highly technical, meaning you don’t necessarily need a degree in the field, but you must understand the key concepts, participate in continuous learning and always ask questions.
  2. You can transfer skills from previous job to help you transition.
  3. It is very rewarding to know you are building enterprise solutions and can see the results on the achievements of the different users.
  4. It provides a healthy work-life balance.

Our guests also reinforced some of the things students had reviewed during the first week of the training, and added more as a reminder:

  • The importance of a LinkedIn Profile as it helps to showcase who you are as a professional. It attracts employers to you if open to working opportunities. 
  • The importance of good communication skills. 
  • The importance of having a good resume and how this will set you apart from other applicants. 
  • The importance of networking, both in and out of the field. This helps expand your exposure to different individuals who could potentially help you on your path in this field. 
  • The importance of continuous learning.

As always, we thank our guests for taking the time to speak to our students and giving them a broader vision of the many opportunities in the Cybersecurity industry.

After this event, our participants were more than ready to start the next stage of the training, where they will prepare for the ITCA Certificate.

Visit our Cybersecurity Training Program Events page for upcoming information sessions and program dates.

The Right Place at the Right Time

CultureLink Mentorship News, Uncategorised

Serendipity is defined as an event where a person finds something pleasant or valuable that they were not looking for. Is it luck? Fate? Call it what you might, it happens. It could be an unexpected call or text from someone dear, finding a object that brings back memories or a coin on the floor in your daily commute. Serendipity is waking up to the first snowfall, a present waiting for you on your desk at work or a friend with an extra ticket for a show you wanted to go to.

For Arwa, serendipity happened when she walked into the Toronto Reference Library at Bloor and Yonge. This was in 2017, only year after she arrived with her three kids from Syria. In her visit to the library she found a group of people talking about Canada. As she got closer, she could hear the different accents from members of the group, it felt right, like she belonged there. The group leader approached her and invited her to join.

The group was one of CultureLink’s Citizenship Education Circles, which before COVID used to meet in libraries across the city. The Discovery Canada book that prospect citizens are expected to study from is very hard to read for someone who’s first language is not English. The program prepares newcomers for the Citizenship test by going over the book and explaining all the important names and events. These details are easy to remember from stories, jokes, quizzes and a lot of conversation facilitated by our staff and volunteers. In Arwas’s words: “Its like sitting with friends. They made me feel that is normal to have difficulty reading in English, and corrected my pronunciation”.

In 2021 Arwa was finally eligible and ready to submit her Citizenship application. It took a few months, but the invitation to take the test arrived and she sat down to take it in March 2022. “It was easy! I finished in under 10 minutes” she said. She passed it a with 18/20, and it would have been a perfect score had she not forgotten to unmark two questions she had selected for review. She knew all the answers, and credits the preparation and support she received for that.

Arwa is now a Citizenship Education Circle graduate and her only regret is not having found that group earlier. Not only did it help her pass the test, she also improved her reading (from level 3 to level 8) and made friends in the other newcomer participants, the volunteers and our staff. But her relationship with CultureLink doesn’t end there. During the pandemic, her children were struggling with homework and she turned to us for help. One of our settlement workers referred her to a tutoring service and now a employment counsellor is helping her with her resume.

A newcomer family is well on their way to a happy new Canadian life, all because Arwa happened to walk into the library on a day when one our groups was having a session. How different would her story be if she hadn’t?

From Just Landed to Landing a Job in 4 Months

CultureLink Cybersecurity Training Program

Nimita is a BTech graduate with extensive IT experience. She came to Canada on September 2021 with her family. “Traveling during a pandemic with our 4 year-old daughter was not easy. We had to go through strict COVID tests”.

They left their home many thousand miles away in India, and landed in Toronto in the middle of lockdowns and restrictions. “Being a newcomer and having to stay away from people due to COVID was very hard. Getting acclimated to the newfound weather and environment was altogether a struggle at the beginning, and it became worse once I started searching for jobs”.

The job search proved to be the most difficult part of their settlement process. She was trying to find a suitable job in her field and getting barely any responses.

Nimita came to know about CultureLink’s Cybersecurity Training Program through a Linkedin post. “I immediately registered after going through the course details”. She attended the information session and decided to enroll. The first thing on her to-do list was to complete the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) test to fulfill the eligibility criteria. “The 8-week training program that started on December 6, 2021 gave me a sense of hope and optimism. It gave me direction to bring about a positive change to achieve my goals”. Learning about her new country, its various cultures and specially its job market helped light a new path in her career, which was lacking until then.

The first part of the training was about building a well-structured and professional resume. She learnt how to best portray her skills and abilities and was able to update her resume and Linkedin profile to Canadian standards. The result? It took almost no time to get shortlisted for the jobs she wanted. “I was called for an interview soon after and got a job offer in a renowned financial institute”. She started working the first week of January 2022, which didn’t get in the way of her completing the program.

She was able to attend all the remaining evening classes and found the training helpful in more than one way. “Though I have around five years of experience in Identity & Access Management, which is an integral part of Cybersecurity, the foundation course gave me exposure to other aspects of Cybersecurity and helped to identify myself with new interests in this field. It is also a great opportunity to talk to people of similar interests, attend group discussions and share views/opinions; a wonderful medium to network and collaborate. The major highlight of the program is that we got training from senior professionals/experts in this field who are always ready to help and support us whenever needed.”

Moving to a new country is never easy, but with a little help things start happening sooner rather than later. For Nimita, this help came in the shape of a training program, which led to her and her family feeling more at home in their new home. “Thank you CultureLink for your immense support and encouragement, which is helping me in great ways to adapt to new ways of living here in Canada.”

#YourNewCanadianLifeStarts Here.

A Settlement Testimonial

Sarah Ahsan SWIS News

As a Settlement organization, we want to make sure that new Canadians have access to the information and resources they need. Our job is to ensure that the transition into their new home is smooth and as easy as possible. With so much to do after moving to a different country and the initial cultural shock, the experience can be overwhelming. Our team is ready to assist individuals and families and get them from just-landed to settled.

Following is the story of one successful settlement process, written by the client who reached out and received guidance from our Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) Program.

My name is Hamada Kassam and it is my pleasure to share with you my story. I am a Syrian newcomer and assistant professor of literature and academic writing. I landed in Canada as a permanent resident in June 2019, coming from Dubai, UAE. I came to Canada with my family (my wife and our son), and we were blessed with another son here in Mississauga, Ontario. It has been an amazing new chapter in our lives so far. Nothing takes the pleasure of seeing our children grow and embrace the happy, enriching school life as well as the abundance of greenery and kindness Canada generously offers.

I would like to seize this opportunity to thank CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, I met one of their settlement workers through my connections. I was fortunate and grateful to find them upon arriving in Canada to provide us with the main skills and services that enabled me and my family to settle down. They have assisted me since the moment I landed here. They have helped me and my family to settle down quickly and do everything a newcomer should do in order to adapt and cope in a new country and become an effective member of the community. They kept us informed and updated on the latest news and developments that a newcomer should be aware of. Also, they have always been there whenever I needed information and guidance.

We are thankful for the great initiatives taken by the SWIS team at CultureLink to assist and support newcomer families in Canada, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their work is moving and inspiring. Their impressive work has enabled me to quickly focus on finding a job and successfully navigate the job market. I am now a high school English and social science teacher who significantly contributes to the community in building and shaping new generations of students in Ontario.

Dr. Hamada Kassam

Holiday Smiles

CultureLink Settlement in the Community News, SWIS News

CultureLink’s Youth and Children Centre was the location of our latest indoor event, one of the very few we have been able to host this year for our newcomer clients.

Following health guidelines and protocols, the reception area was turned into an elf-workshop where our staff worked hard to sort and pack dozens of presents for families and children in the community.

Led by our new CEO Jemima Sabapathy and under the direction of program managers Dina Elton and Abdi Yousuf, CultureLink’s SWIS (Settlement Workers in School) and LSP (Library Settlement Partnership) Programs joined hands to quickly organised an especial event. In a very short period of time, our teams were able to produce a safe and socially-distanced Christmas-gift-giving day, demonstrating resiliency, consistency and our ongoing commitment to the communities we serve.

We received presents from many community donors, including organizations such as CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish, Kids Up Front Toronto, CICS, Mimico Angels and other private sponsors. We thank all of you for your generous contributions!

For us, this event was proof that even under difficult times, we can count on the community for support and come together to put a smile in kids’s faces. No pandemic can stop us from showing new Canadians what we are all about!

A very special thanks and congratulations to our front-line workers and part-time Santa helpers Claudia and Marianella for helping make this day possible.

Happy Holidays to all!