St. Stephen's Community House

Shakirat Atanda

Shakirat AtandaShakirat Atanda

From food bank to Royal Bank

After Shakirat Atanda immigrated from Nigeria to get her Master’s Degree, things got rough pretty quickly.

“I was all alone. It was tough to pay the bills and I had to drop out of school. I had to use the food bank and clothing bank. I didn’t know what to do. A friend told me about St. Stephen’s Employment & Training Centre. Staff helped me with my resume, then suggested the Retail Career Pathway Program.”

Funded by the United Way, the Program provides intensive training that helps young people between the ages of 17 and 29 who are not in school prepare for a retail career. It includes paid training, a work placement and certification from the Retail Council of Canada.

“In the Program, staff focused on personal and communication skills, like how to prepare for interviews. Things like how to ask questions, how not to fidget, and how to impress the interviewer. But they also explained about short and long-term goals. That sounded easy but it was really tough! Staff gave me confidence and direction. They made me realize I could do more. In just three months, I was working at RBC. It’s my first job in Canada! Next year, I’m going to apply to the Rotman School and get my degree. St. Stephen’s is my superhero!”

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