Success story alert! Meet Ruken Usta, a determined newcomer who moved to Montreal four years ago with a degree in Nutritional Science from Turkey. Despite facing integration challenges and feeling isolated, Ruken refused to give up on her career aspirations.

That’s when she discovered YES’ Youth on the Rise program, and it changed her life forever. With the help of the program, Ruken was able to secure an Administrative Assistant position in Business Relations at a local company.

Ruken credits the Youth on the Rise program for playing a vital role in her job search journey. The professional and supportive guidance provided by the program helped Ruken navigate the job market and secure a meaningful career.

This is just one of many inspiring stories of how YES’ Youth on the Rise program is helping newcomers like Ruken achieve their career goals and succeed in their new home.

YES: What was the problem you were experiencing before you came to YES? 

Ruken Usta: When I first arrived in Montreal, I found employment in the customer service field within my community. However, this work did not provide me with the opportunity to gain real Canadian experience, which would have been beneficial for both my language skills development and my ability to adapt to the Canadian system. As a newcomer, I faced various integration issues such as a lack of a professional and personal network, I encountered cultural differences, and obstacles in not knowing where to look for resources oriented to my specific needs. These struggles impacted my work and mental health. I was not able to gain the experience and skills that I needed to better integrate into Canadian society and build a successful career here. 

YES: What were some of your goals when you started and how did you achieve them? 

Ruken Usta: I had been experiencing a sense of isolation and dissatisfaction with my life, and I was actively seeking a chance to change my circumstances and start anew. When I came across information about the Youth on the Rise program, I immediately believed it could be a valuable opportunity for me. I had been struggling with a high level of anxiety, including panic attacks, as well as feelings of insecurity. Being alone in a foreign country and facing language barriers greatly impacted my life. However, through my participation in the program, specifically through attending the workshops and getting 1 on 1 support from the YOTR core team, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of my problems. This self-awareness has been instrumental in helping me to regain my self-confidence and self-respect. I have learned a lot from my experience with YES and feel that it has been a turning point in my life. 

YES: What stage are you at now? What have been your greatest achievements? 

Ruken Usta: Currently, I am employed as an administrative assistant in business relations at a manufacturing company. Youth on the Rise played a vital role in helping me secure this position by providing me with professional and supportive guidance throughout the job search process. Through their assistance, I was able to improve my skills in areas such as resume preparation, interviewing, job searching, and using Microsoft Office. Additionally, the various workshops offered by Youth on the Rise, which covered topics such as stress management, conflict resolution, and personal development, have been crucial in helping me at various stages of my journey. As a result of my involvement with the organization, I have noticed growth both professionally and personally, with my confidence and trust in my abilities being the most significant accomplishment I have achieved. 

YES: What were/are your biggest struggles? 

Ruken Usta: I had been facing difficulties during job interviews, specifically, in providing appropriate responses to the questions asked by the interviewers. Additionally, my CV was not up to par and did not effectively showcase my qualifications and experiences. My anxiety was also a significant issue during these interviews, as it was clearly visible to the employers and likely hindered my chances of being offered a job opportunity. Furthermore, I lacked a local professional reference which made it harder for me to be considered for the job. Overall, my poor interview skills, inadequate CV, lack of a local professional reference, and high levels of anxiety were major obstacles in my job search and hindered me from getting a job opportunity. 

YES: How did YOTR help you get to where you are today? 

Ruken Usta: I am deeply appreciative of the support and assistance I have received from YOTR. The guidance and resources I received have been pivotal in helping me improve my CV, develop my skills, and enhance my professional profile. The encouragement and motivation provided by YOTR have been invaluable to me. Through the various workshops and programs offered by the organization, I have acquired a wealth of new knowledge and terminology related to professional and personal development. As a result, I no longer feel the same level of loneliness and insecurity that I had previously experienced. Being a part of YOTR has truly been life-changing for me and I believe it was one of the best decisions I have made. I am extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of the program manager, and the program coordinator in ensuring that I received the support and guidance that I needed to succeed. The best thing of all, YOTR not only helped me to develop my skills and improve my CV but also, connected me with potential employers and assisted me in finding a job. Their job placement service was decisive in helping me secure a position that aligns with my interests and qualifications. This has been a crucial step in achieving my career goals and improving my overall livelihood.  

Thank you to YES, YOTR, and to Erjona and Vanessa for all that you have done for me! 

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