Social work bridging program helps newcomer pursue his calling
July 16, 2012
When Viral Vyas, Canadian Social Work Practice certificate ’09, came to Canada in 2006, he applied for nearly 75 jobs in his field. Despite having a master’s in social work from India and six-and-a-half years experience in human rights and youth support organizations, he received no response. Frustrated, he worked odd jobs, but knew in his heart that he would get a chance to return to his field.
Then, Ryerson’s Internationally Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program, offered by The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, gave him the tools and experience to do so. Since 2005, the provincially funded program has taught more than 130 internationally educated social workers Ontario’s social work code of ethics and standards of practice and how to adapt their skills to Canadian communities.
Through the program, Vyas completed a work placement in his area of expertise – youth and mental health – and benefited from networking opportunities with other social workers. “They shared their experiences with us and they advised us how we could enter the Canadian social work field,” says Vyas, who is now a child protection worker with Peel Children’s Aid in the Parent and Child Capacity Building Team.
“When I was at Ryerson, I was dreaming that I’d get this job. When you work in the fields of children and youth mental health, this is the job where you can really protect children. If you shape their futures, you can shape your country’s future.”
In addition to his full-time career, he gives back to his community. Vyas volunteers with the Etobicoke Children’s Centre board of directors and is on a committee that is starting an alumni group for IESW graduates.
“The best advice that someone gave me was that you have to be confident about your knowledge and expertise. You have strength, you speak so many languages, you have knowledge of different cultures – and Canada needs this right now.”
Adriana Rolston graduated from Journalism in 2010 and is an online editor for 1234V.