Josiah’s Story: On the Right Path to a Successful Career

Josiah moved from Nigeria to iceberg-studded Newfoundland and Labrador in the middle of winter- January 2023. With temperatures often dropping below -20°C, it was a stark contrast to the warm temperatures he was used to in Nigeria. Despite the cold, he found himself inspired by the rugged landscape and the friendly people he met. Josiah soon became familiar with the local culture and customs and began to adjust to life in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. He is a dynamic and vibrant person. He was a media personality, broadcast trainer and caregiver in his home country and is ready to embark on a new life and career in, Newfoundland, Canada.

Josiah is currently employed in the healthcare sector as a Child & Youth Care Worker, and Developmental Support Worker. For the long-term goal, he is studying Data Analytics.

Before arriving in Newfoundland, Josiah registered with the SOPA pre-arrival program and completed four SOPA online courses to make sure he not only maintained but also successfully advanced in his Canadian career. He completed three self-guided courses: Working in Canada, Canadian Workplace Integration, and Job Search Strategies Express. He also completed an instructor-led course on Workplace Communication, one of our four soft skills courses.

Each course helped him understand better not only the Canadian job search but also the skills that he would need to use in the Canadian workplace.

Josiah’s lessons learnt during the SOPA online courses:

“Among many other things, I learned in the Canadian Workplace Integration course, understanding the advantages of always infusing softeners in speaking is mind-blowing. I was never aware of it until this course got me enlightened. I am happy to have completed this course.

One strategy I learnt from my SOPA training is to research each organization and align my resume, and cover letter to suit the organization’s vision and mission, in addition to the required skills. Another is to reach out directly to the firm either via mail or phone and do a follow-up.

The Job Search Strategies Express course helped me learn how to tailor my search to more specifics on job search websites such as Job Bank, Indeed and more.

I now have a proper understanding of:

  • How to tailor a resume to include keywords as advertised by an employer 
  • How to word information and statements in a resume to reflect academic and personal accomplishments
  • How to format a great cover letter and what information should be contained in each paragraph
  • Preparing for interviews, attending an interview, the do’s and don’ts of an interview

The most important thing I have learnt would be writing a cover letter and also how to make a good impression during an interview.”

Josiah developed an understanding of the cultural norms and expectations involved in working in a Canadian workplace through his participation in the Soft Skills: Workplace Communication course.

“While taking a Soft Skills course I learnt the indirect way of making a contribution or voicing an opinion in a Canadian workplace.”

“The impact of the one-on-one sessions I had with Aleksandra Niedzwiecka, SOPA Atlantic Employment Specialist, cannot be overemphasized. She dissected both my short and long-term career aspirations and proffered advice on the best routes to achieving my goals. Those pointers were spot on! I acted on her advice and am happy to be on the right path to a successful career journey.”

— Josiah Okonkwo, SOPA Atlantic Client

Josiah took his pre-arrival preparations and SOPA courses seriously and was proactive in completing the assignments and participating in discussions. He asked questions to get a better understanding of the industry and what potential career paths he could pursue. Doing this helped him gain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in his chosen field.

SOPA Employment Sessions outcomes:

Josiah thought long term so he also met with SOPA Employment Counsellor to do some career exploration, find out about training, and micro-credentials, and obtain guidance on how to reach his long-term goal career goal.

Josiah was pleased with the help he received from the employment counselling sessions. He appreciated the guidance and the action plan that was tailored to his career in Canada. He felt more confident about his job prospects and was motivated to put the plan into action.

“The impact of the one-on-one sessions I had with Aleksandra Niedzwiecka- SOPA Atlantic Employment Specialist, cannot be overemphasized. She dissected both my short and long-term career aspirations and proffered advice on the best routes to achieving my goals and organizations that would be resourceful. Those pointers were spot on! I acted on her advice and am happy to be on the right path to a successful career journey.”

Josiah’s recommendation for fellow newcomers:

“Enroll in the SOPA program and courses, take it seriously and maximize all career counselling sessions.”

Before arriving in Newfoundland, Josiah connected with an organization that helped him with airport pickup and temporary accommodation. He also participated in post-arrival sessions with ANCNL (Association for New Canadians in Newfoundland) that helped him with various needs of settling into a new community.

1) Nigerian Canadian Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (NCANL) – “They picked me up from the airport when I landed, gave me temporary accommodation for some days, assisted with transportation and accompanied me to relevant organizations for bank account opening, SIM Card registration and more.”

2) Association for New Canadians in Newfoundland – ANCNL  – “Pivotal in job-related matters.”

Josiah is now a proud Newfoundlander and is thankful for the warm welcome he received when he first arrived. Although the weather in Newfoundland still amazes him with its unpredictability he loves the beauty and nature around.

SOPA Story was Prepared by: Josiah Okonkwo, SOPA Atlantic Client

Aleksandra Niedzwiecka and Albina Ziatdinova, SOPA Atlantic Team

Aleksandra Niedzwiecka, CHRP, is an Employment Specialist at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) where she works with immigrant professionals to help them develop their careers. Specifically, she helps her clients attain their professional goals. She worked for several years as a recruiter in the UK and Poland and then became involved in other areas of human resources such as HRIS and coaching after moving to Halifax, Canada in 2007. She is passionate about helping individuals make transformations in their professional lives and engage in their communities.

Albina Ziatdinova is based at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) in Halifax, Nova Scotia and currently monitors SOPA’s four self-guided courses for all of the provinces where the SOPA program is offered. She also manages, curates, creates and coordinates content for SOPA’s blog and social media channels. She is an immigrant herself and she knows just how important is to get timely and reliable information. She immigrated 12 years ago to Halifax, NS and since then has been working at ISANS. Albina is passionate about helping clients tell their SOPA story and helping clients arrive better prepared.

Did you know?

Did you know SOPA is a national partnership of 7 Canadian settlement agencies delivering a free, online, flexible, comprehensive and proven pre-arrival program dedicated to the economic integration of immigrants destined for the Canadian workforce?

Each SOPA partner provides training within local contexts that creates a bridge between pre-arrival immigrants and their destined communities. By participating in SOPA, you will arrive in Canada better prepared, receive one-on-one employment support, be more confident about Canadian cultural expectations, and enter the workforce sooner.


  1. Debra Power on 14, September 2023 at 2:52 pm

    What a great story! Very inspiring. Josiah you have shown how useful SOPA courses can be! I hope others hear your words. And great teamwork by SOPA!

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