My OFE Story: Victoria

There was a lot of excitement when the bell rang. At OFE this could only mean one thing, a participant was just hired. Oftentimes staff members walking by or who have offices down the hall all stop by the front desk to clap and cheer as we celebrate our participants’ success. This time it was Victoria who got the job. We were especially happy to see her holding the bell and smiling her big smile because her job search journey, like many of ours, was not a straight path, and we knew how hard she worked behind the scenes.

We met Victoria about a year ago. Back then she was looking to work as a Sewing Machine Operator. She has never used a sewing machine before, never mind a needle and thread, but when she found out OFE offered a free training program, she saw it as a way to start a new career in Canada. From the beginning she showed persistence and determination. She fully engaged with the training and completed every task assigned to her. She also made it a point to talk to her facilitators and Employment Consultant to get feedback. Despite her hard work, she didn’t pass the technical part of training and was let go by the employer. But that didn’t stop her.

She came back to OFE and decided to pursue something more familiar, customer service. She opted to upgrade her computer skills, including increasing her typing speed, because she knew she would need these skills to be a successful Customer Service Representative. It was around this time that Winnipeg went into lockdown due to Covid-19. OFE had to suspend in-person services. While others would’ve felt discouraged, Victoria continued to work with us remotely. She applied to many opportunities with the help of our Employer Liaison and completed several interviews, but again she would face rejection as these companies eventually said “no”.

The stresses of Covid-19started to affect her and her family life, and this in turn affected her ability to job search, but her Employment Consultant continued to be a steady support and encourager. Eventually, not wanting to hear another “no” from employers, Victoria decided she would change her job goal to become a Direct Support Worker. This is where she found success. After a few more weeks of honing her skills for this sector, she was offered a full-time position!

Victoria chose not to back down when confronted with rejection. Even though she knew time was passing and she needed to get a job, she stayed committed to the “prep” work that’s sometimes part of the process. While actively submitting applications she chose to grow her skills by participating in workshops, knowing she would be able to use everything she learned no matter where life took her. She was willing to pivot – more than once! – to achieve her goal, which shows us how important it is to be adaptable. It’s safe to say, Victoria’s story is an inspiration to us at OFE and to other job seekers.