Dear Aunt Agatha,
At last, after nine months in Canada, I've finally got a job!
Whew! What a long haul that was. And not at all what I expected. After all the immigration press about how the country is crying out for professionals, including IT people, landing employment in Victoria has been a nightmare.
Last time I wrote, I mentioned how different the hiring process is here compared to what I was used to in Guernsey. Another thing I've learned is how insular much of the private sector is. Time and again I heard how it's not what you know, it's who you know. Many people I spoke to along the way were quite open about the fact that most of their new hires are youngsters they've already met through co-op placements from UVic or Camosun College. And in the one or two interviews I had I got the uncomfortable feeling that they were just "going through the motions" to satisfy anti-discrimination laws with no serious intention of actually hiring a foreigner.
Government seems a lot more receptive to new blood. Luckily Government in Victoria is a big employer, and that's where I've landed up. Won't be starting for a few weeks, we have friends visiting from Guernsey soon so I'm waiting until we get back from a camping trip with them up-island.
Back to the dearth of professionals, though, something that has puzzled us and Canadians alike is the mountain of obstacles the country puts in the way of newcomers. Any qualification you might hold in your home country is effectively worthless here. All the immigration press is full of pleas for professionals such as tradesmen and healthcare workers. What they don't say so loudly is that you need to retrain before you can actually work. I am fortunate that IT has not yet matured to the point where you need formal qualifications to work. And an Oxford University degree seems to transcend borders.
Meanwhile the city keeps on reminding us why it was worth the risk and all the anxiety. We spent a wonderful day at the tall ships festival which took over the harbour last month. And we saw a whole family of barred owls while walking Gypsy in the woods at Centennial Park.