August 5, 2020
Innovative and committed partners help ACCES create momentum and success in the lives of newcomers. Through generous support, contributions to programs and services, volunteering and mentoring, and the recruitment of newcomer talent, ACCES and TD have contributed to the success of thousands of newcomers as they start their lives in Canada.
By working together, ACCES and TD are making a difference in the lives of newcomer jobseekers in a variety of innovative and targeted ways. With TD’s support, ACCES has been able to address greater income stability for newcomers through future-skills development, much-needed STEM training for underrepresented groups, reducing and removing the barriers facing women jobseekers and helping to curb unemployment and underemployment among internationally trained professionals new to Canada. Specifically, TD’s recent support and sponsorship has enhanced ACCES’s Women in Technology, Empowering Women, Cybersecurity Connections and Talk English Café programming. The collaboration also created an innovative workshop series introducing refugees to TD’s own control functions and compliancy training.
Women in Technology Program
The TD Ready Challenge, created and funded by TD, is a key component of the Bank’s overall corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment. The annual North American initiative provides financial support to organizations tackling community issues. ACCES’s Women in Technology (WiT) initiative was a recipient of a $1 million CDN TD Ready Challenge grant in 2018. The initiative provides women with training and employer connections to secure and retain competitive employment in the IT field with a focus on emerging high growth areas in STEM. Participants have direct contact with hiring employers through a range of mentoring initiatives and guest-speaker events.
ACCES’s Empowering Women Program, sponsored by TD, is a one-week intensive program focused on helping newcomer women realize their leadership potential through customized workshops, coaching, and business communication training. Each cohort includes a volunteer commitment from TD executives and leaders to individually mentor participants, providing participants with the opportunity to meet with women already in leadership roles. The program is highly successful with an 84% employment rate among graduates, with 36% of the graduates being hired directly by TD. Over 250 women have benefitted from the program to date, with 15 different cohorts.
TD generously supported the delivery of the Cybersecurity Connections cohort offered last month. The program connects internationally trained IT professionals to the increasingly high-demand Canadian job market in Cybersecurity. In partnership with IBM, the last cohort received unique mentoring support from TD executives and customized cybersecurity training from IBM’s SkillsBuild platform. TD has also hired past graduates from the program in roles such as Senior Security Analyst, Business Technology Risk Management and Information Security Analysts.
TD Control Function Workshop Series for Refugees
TD and ACCES recently collaborated on a Control Functions Workshop series for refugees. Many of the refugee participants had previously worked in control functions in their countries of origin, including Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, St. Lucia and Zimbabwe. TD leaders taught refugees about specific control functions at TD, how to understand and manage risk and how to accomplish this within the TD framework. Participants also learned about TD’s hiring practices and how to engage with professionals in the TD network. As one refugee reflected, “The collaboration between ACCES and TD Bank Group is such an amazing one. Every individual who represented both organizations exhibited a high level of expertise and professionalism.” Jan Grofe, Senior Manager with the TD Compliance Academy, explained that the ACCES-TD collaboration on this Compliance Series has helped to “further the impact of the TD Ready Commitment by giving back to a vulnerable population in our community: refugees searching for employment during COVID.”
Personal Success Story: ACCES and TD’s Growing Impact on Diversity and Inclusion
Sisan Adidi migrated to Canada from Nigeria in April 2019. It was a difficult decision to make, leaving behind a successful 12-year career in a leading financial services franchise in Africa.
In his words, “the Financial Services Connections Program at ACCES was a good place to learn about the Canadian financial landscape and how best to leverage my skills. The program gave me an opportunity to attend speed mentoring and career sessions with various financial institutions. Through one of these sessions, I was able to interview for my current position as Manager, Customer Experience at TD Bank.” Joining TD in Etobicoke enabled Sisan to leverage his experiences coupled with structured and deliberate rotations within the district to learn and apply his skills in a meaningful and purposeful way.
“TD Bank was a perfect fit for me as a newcomer; the diverse, customer-centric and people-oriented work environment helped me settle in quickly and thrive. Most importantly, I was able to bring my whole self to work and to just be me.”