The CACC Young Professionals Committee recently hosted its inaugural event – a virtual panel discussion aimed at young Australians and Canadians interested in working abroad, entitled “The Expat Experience”.
CACC CEO, Melissa Wharton, welcomed the Director of International Experience Canada (IEC), Clark Goodman, as the keynote speaker to share his perspective and experience with Australians living and working abroad in Canada.
Mr Goodman highlighted the importance of the open work permit in strengthening the bilateral relationship, noting that there are approximately 7000 Canadian and Australian youths living and working in each other’s country at any given time.
“The open work permit is, by and large, a cultural program that ensures that youth from all parts of our society are able to participate by being able to work and pay their own way. Without that work aspect, you are simply a tourist” he said.
Mr Goodman also cited some of the other benefits associated with the movement of youth across Australia and Canada – particularly in moulding a generation of employees with skills in critical thinking, resilience, the ability to adapt and face new challenges and initiative.
“As an employer, these are skills we look for in our future employees”, said Mr Goodman.
After the keynote speech, moderator Laurie Mac introduced the Executive Director of AFL Canada, Jacob Haeusler, and Senior Policy Officer at the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Paroma Dunbar, to join Mr Goodman on the panel and share their own expat experiences.
Jacob started the panel discussion by sharing his story from regional Victoria all the way to Ottawa and the impact his move to Canada has had on his career.
“I started as a teacher and was very focussed on being a leading teacher or a Principal. After I arrived in Canada, it opened me up to so many different experiences and skills. I started out in sales and then found myself in my current role at AFL Canada. I don’t see myself getting back into teaching!”
Paroma emphasised the transformative nature of her expat experience, and its ability to make her appreciate the finer things in life.
“To uproot your life and live, work or study abroad helps put things into perspective because you are constantly learning – particularly about your surroundings”, she said.
Laurie then invited viewers to submit questions for the panel to answer a range of interesting questions. Interestingly, Mr Goodman shared information on opportunities for Australian and Canadian public sector employees to move between various Departments in each country, giving the attendees some food for thought.