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Lily's story

Settlement Worker

“I’m an immigrant from China so I know what challenges a new immigrant has to deal with. As a Settlement Worker, I get to help others from what I’ve learned through my own experience. That’s very satisfying. Another huge benefit of my job is that I can balance work with parenthood. I get to be with my young children more than I might in some other workplaces.”

Lily's career ladder

Meet Lily. Lily is a 34-year-old new Canadian. Lily immigrated to Canada with her husband from mainland China in 2007. After arriving in Canada, Lily volunteered with a non-profit organization while learning English and was hired for paid employment within that organization. Lily’s career journey shows us the importance of setting clear goals, finding opportunities to develop our skills, and remaining open to new possibilities.

Lily began her career in China by completing a Bachelor of Economics from the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics. After graduation, she began working as an Administrative Assistant for an engineering firm. She left that firm when she was offered a role as a Training Specialist in another. The Training Specialist role involved developing and coordinating training for clients.

Lily completed a Project Management Mastery program and was promoted to Executive Administrative Coordinator. In this position, Lily developed human resources experience through working with various teams and projects. In order to further enhance her skills, she completed a Masters of Business and Management from the Beijing University of Business and Economics, and then she moved to Canada. Lily’s career ladder in China was vertical based on acquiring education, skills and experience, which led to positions with higher responsibility and pay.

Lily wanted to learn how to speak English fluently as that would improve her chances of getting a good job in Canada. She took English classes at the Multicultural Society. These classes allowed her to connect with fellow newcomers and develop important social relationships. During her adjustment phase, she also volunteered for the Burnaby Multicultural Society for special events and other activities in order to gain Canadian experience. She found that the team and the work at the society matched well with her interests and values.

A Settlement Worker position became available at the agency. Lily talked with some of the staff to learn more about the organization, work environment, and specific duties of the Settlement Worker. She became very interested in the position and updated her resume to highlight her skills, technical knowledge and education. While most of Lily’s transferable skills were business-related, she was able focus on her communication skills as well as her own personal experience of moving to Canada.

The Hiring Manager did not know Lily personally; however she checked with other staff who had worked with her and received positive feedback about Lily’s personality and skills. Lily was hired as a Settlement Worker and was able to ladder from an unpaid to a paid position by volunteering, networking and highlighting her transferable skills.

As a Settlement Worker, Lily works collaboratively with her team and is able to meet with people who are new to Canada. The transition for new Canadians can be challenging and isolating. She helps her clients by connecting them with community resources, volunteer opportunities, language classes, and employment services. She also offers her clients empathy and a non-judgment attitude.

Lily climbed up the career ladder quickly prior to immigrating to Canada. Since arriving here, Lily’s career ladder has become more lateral as she focuses on growing her skills in the non-profit sector and balancing her personal priorities of raising a young family in British Columbia. Lily loves her new life in Canada and enjoys learning more about Canadian culture and her community. Lily is working at improving her language skills and continues to take classes. She sees herself staying with the organization and her goal is to become a Facilitator.

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