Newcomers to Canada Find Employment with the Help of DDSB

Posted On Tuesday April 12, 2022
Mortilaine Riley secured an internship at Ontario Tech University and was hired as an Educational Developer shortly afterwards.

Arriving in a new country to start life over is a daunting task that many of us have never had to think about.

For many new Canadians, this is a life decision not taken lightly. They often spend years planning and considering how they are going to make it work for themselves and their family members.

Thoughts of being able to find a job in their career field and children being able to attend school can consume our new neighbours. 

The Durham Continuing Education (DCE) program for internationally trained professionals tries to ease this worry and anxiety for new students by offering an Enhanced Language Training (ELT) course for newcomers. This course is designed to teach strategies for finding and keeping employment while matching the skills of the student to their next job.

The ELT program is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and assists newcomers in finding work by teaching students about where and how to find employment, Canadian workplace culture, interview skills, resume writing, and more.

Staff recognize that newcomers to Canada, regardless of skill, education, and experience may face challenges finding meaningful employment and often take survival jobs to make ends meet. Programs like ELT at DCE increase opportunities for students by removing barriers and connecting newcomers like Mortilaine Riley with good employers in the Durham Region.  

Mortilaine came to Canada from the beautiful island of Jamaica after deciding to join her family in Durham in 2020. She settled into her new country and started to look for work. Mortilaine had a good education, skills, and talent but says she was getting advice that was “not always ‘on point’.”.

One of the recommendations Mortilaine received was to enrol in the ELT program. The worker she met knew she would learn how to reconnect with her profession in Canada.

Mortilaine laughs when she compares the difference in her resume from back home to the standard here in Canada. “I certainly learned a lot. In Jamaica, the more you can put on your resume the better but that’s not so in Canada. It’s a different country, a different culture, and newcomers need help to understand the work environment.” says Mortilaine.

Mortilaine proved successful in learning quickly with guidance of her instructor Dorothy from the DDSB. “Dorothy was great! She has been the ELT instructor at Durham Continuing Education for five years and she has helped so many newcomers. It was not just a job for her,” says Mortilaine, “I could definitely see her passion and her heart to really help and that is something that is very rare. I felt like she was really invested in seeing the students succeed.”

Before coming to Canada Mortilaine was an Instructional Technologist and Digital Design Specialist, which means she designed content for online courses. Working with her ELT coordinator, she was able to secure an internship at Ontario Tech University in the Teaching and Learning Centre. Within days of beginning her internship, the Director asked Mortilaine to apply to a current job posting.

Mortilaine interviewed and was hired as an Educational Developer shortly afterwards. She is grateful for the friends met in class, the connections made and the generous help of dedicated employees like Dorothy and Maureen the ELT coordinator who helped her along the way.

If you would like to learn more about the Enhanced Language Training (ELT) reach out and have all your questions answered at