New beginnings in New Zealand with Work Connect

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For the past year, Careers New Zealand has been sharing valuable insights into the New Zealand job market with international students, skilled migrants and their partners through its programme, Work Connect.

The 10-hour career coaching and employment mentoring programme is a Migrant Futures initiative that coaches participants on how to prepare for the workforce, make a good impression and develop their employability skills.

Our skilled migrant clients tend to be highly qualified and have the technical skills they need to do the job they’re interested in. The challenge they face is knowing how to match their skills and experience with roles in New Zealand and how to tailor their cover letter and CV so that they secure an interview,” says Navazesh Smith, Careers New Zealand Manager of Migrant Futures. 

Sometimes it takes a more proactive approach to job hunting − contacting employers directly to see if there are any openings. For some of our clients this approach has led to an interview, and using the interview techniques they have learned from Work Connect they go on to secure a role.

Being bold helped Nandeep stand out

Nandeep Kadam is a Work Connect client from Mumbai, India. His tenacity and drive helped him secure a job at 2degrees as a customer care representative for residential customers.  Nandeep took advice from Work Connect consultant Ruby Baker to contact employers directly.

“Ruby said New Zealand employers need a push and those words worked for me, as I straight away contacted the employer for the job I was looking for,” explains Nandeep.   

“Having a strong background in the area of expertise the employer is looking for, coupled with a well-prepared phone call to an organisation at the right time, can often open up opportunities for new migrants. There is nothing to lose by making yourself known to an employer, as it can help you stand out amongst a huge number of other applicants,” says Navazesh.

“If the organisation hasn’t advertised and you are thinking of cold calling them, make sure you research the organisation first to see if your skills align with their services and have a strong pitch ready to show how you could contribute to the organisation.”

Another key part of Work Connect is helping migrants to have a better understanding of New Zealand’s work culture. Work Connect coaches help bridge the gap between the skills clients have and the way they present themselves to employers.

An early barrier Nandeep faced when arriving in New Zealand was being unable to keep up with Kiwi slang and language because of the differences in accent. 

“Our Work Connect sessions help clients understand New Zealand workplaces – including how to understand the slang and humour, and the employability skills that are important to Kiwi employers like self-management, teamwork, and a positive attitude,” says Navazesh. 

“Perhaps the most important skills our clients need to develop are their communication and language as it’s these skills that will help them create their own high-quality CV and cover letter − with our guidance.”

 Learning how to communicate sealed the deal for Simon

Simon (Mohamed) Sorour is a skilled technician with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Originally from Egypt, he has lived and worked in Dubai for the past nine years and came to the Work Connect programme after being in New Zealand for one week.  

“He just walked up to our offices in Eden Terrace after seeing our name on the door and asked what we could do for him to find work! Once we found out he fitted our criteria we were able to get him started with Work Connect career coaching and mentoring,” says Navazesh.

Simon credits Work Connect with helping him to get the full picture of what is happening in the New Zealand job market and providing him with the inside scoop on what employers are searching for. 

“In New Zealand you can’t be as direct in your communication style. Knowing how to communicate helps create good relations with employers,” explains Simon.

Simon secured a role at Auckland Council as a workplace planning consultant in a more senior role than he originally applied for. He believes other employers should give new migrants a chance as they have the skills to do the job successfully.

Are you eligible for Work Connect?

If you are a New Zealand migrant and Work Connect sounds like something you would be interested in, we would love to hear from you. Please be aware that the programme is currently available in Auckland only and eligibility criteria applies.