Our Trailblazers this week are Ten extraordinary men I encountered recently.
On Saturday evening, September 9, 2016, while accompanying my family at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, we came across the most unusual site, that immediately capture our attention. Seated in the concourse were a group of black men, dressed in brightly coloured orange and black uniforms seated around two or three tables. It appeared as if they belonged to a football or basketball team and just passing the time before going through security.
Their response at seeing us was just incredible. Their welcoming smiles were captivating and they immediately engaged us in conversation. Each of the men proudly introduced themselves and, we shook hands. We discovered that this group men were engineers from Nigeria. In fact, they are permanent residents of Canada, working at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, in various capacities in the engineering profession. These men are among some of the employees maintaining aircraft and helping to keep passengers safe and secure, as they fly in and out of our province. Can you imagine, what a proud moment this was for all of us? I wished I could have captured the moment pictorially to share with you. However, we had to respect the virus of some group members not to take any photographs because they did not to infringe on their work contracts and protect their identity.
Why are these men so special, and why are they trailblazers, some might ask? Many immigrants living and working in Nova Scotia, have had tremendous difficulties working in their chosen profession. So many are underemployed, unemployed, or have returned to university to obtain their Canadian qualifications and still find themselves facing challenges. This group of professional men may not recognize how special they are but we do! They represented a significant shift in Credential Recognition for immigrants in diverse professions coming to Nova Scotia. It also meant that their employers would have worked with organization/s to have their professional qualifications recognized even before they arrived in Canada.
This is good news! Let's celebrate the small wins. It is commendable what has been achieved and we congratulate them because they're blazing a trail for many. We still have more work to do in this area.
The men recognized the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), for their input. They also have some connections with the African Diaspora of the Maritimes (ADAM). In addition, they credit their employers for their presence in Nova Scotia.
So next time you travel, remember these guys and give them a wave.
We wish Halifax International Airport Authority and partner employers continued success as they strive to build a diverse workforce that reflects the population of Nova Scotia. After all, "HIAA is the first and last impression a visitor have of Nova Scotia." Ann Divine