A new life in Ottawa


In 2016, Anas fled to Canada after unrest started in Syria. He and his family came to Ottawa via Lebanon to start a new life.

At the time, Anas spoke very little English, and couldn’t find work due to communication barriers. Anas also discovered that, despite working as an electrician for 11 years in Syria, he would have to complete an apprenticeship program and pass a certification exam to continue his profession in Canada.

Determined to carve out a place for himself and his family, Anas enrolled in English as a Second Language classes. There, his instructor connected him with the YMCA-YWCA Power of Trades – a program made possible by the community’s generous donations to United Way.

This program accelerated Anas’ path to success.

The nine-week Power of Trades program offers newcomers training, basic certification, networking opportunities and work placements in order to start their skilled trade careers in Ontario. Power of Trades also helped Anas also complete an equivalency process to recognize his previous work experience in his field.

Nearly 80 per cent of Ottawa’s population growth comes from newcomers. United Way Ottawa knows the importance of helping newcomers find jobs to match their skills – for the sake of our city’s workforce, and for the lives of individuals who come here to build a better life.

In the two years he has lived in Ottawa, Anas improved his English, and after completing the Power of Trades program, he found full-time work for a lighting installation company – close to his field of work. Anas is now studying for the certification exam, and hopes to work as an electrician again soon.

Photo of Anas


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