March 8, 2023

There’s wider economic sense in helping young people get overseas experience

First published in the Globe and Mail.

Zabeen’s Hirji highlights the importance of the Global Skills Opportunity program, the value of international experience for Canadians, and why it’s crucial to provide long-term funding to support more students to go abroad beyond 2025.

“As I reflect on my rewarding career in financial services, starting as a teller at RBC and retiring 40 years later as the bank’s chief human resources officer, I realize it is my human skills that endured the test of time.

Such skills, including adaptability and critical thinking, can’t be learned from books and lectures, But I know where I got them from: Having immigrated to Canada from Tanzania as a teenager, I can attest to how being thrust into an unfamiliar place helps develop competencies quickly.”

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Zabeen Hirji is executive adviser, future of work, at Deloitte and strategic adviser to the public sector and executive-in-residence at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She sits on the advisory group of Global Skills Opportunity. She served for 10 years as chief human resources officer at Royal Bank of Canada.