Immigrant’s break helps bridge gap for others

By Hank Daniszewski, The London Free Press
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 9:47:20 EST PM
http://www.lfpress.com/2017/02/15/immigrants-break-helps-bridge-gap-for-others

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In 1986, Joseph Edward landed in London knowing almost no one and needing a job.

Going back to his wartorn homeland of Sri Lanka was not an option.

Then he was given a break.

St. Peter’s Seminary gave him a place to stay and a contact that led to a job. That job led to a 30-year career in computer technology, including technology management with the Roman Catholic Diocese of London and the City of London.

In 2014, Edward founded his own company, called INVORG, and is now giving other people — immigrants, students, the disabled — the same kind of break he got.

It’s his way of bridging the gap between available jobs and the people with the potential to fill them.

“I knew that by opening doors you can change lives.”

INVORG specializes in helping organizations such as governments, non-profits and social service agencies implement new technology. Clients include One Care Home and Community Support and the Cross Cultural Learner Centre.

The company has 10 employees, including an immigrant from Dubai, students from Lebanon and the Philippines, and a person with learning disabilities.

Edward said his big break was when a priest at St. Peter’s Seminary introduced him to Michael Brandon, who ran a software company. He got a job with the company after starting as a volunteer.

“It was the moment that changed my career, my life.”

He worked as technical director with the diocese from 1992 to 2010. During that time, he created links with other Catholic dioceses and helped parishes use software.

Edward joined the city as chief technology officer in 2010. He helped to overhaul the city website and install more user-friendly systems.

London’s unemployment rate was high at the time and he pitched a project to have the city bring in six skilled unemployed people on a temporary basis to work and get training in technology.

All of them ended up finding permanent jobs in the city.

London businesses and city hall can take a leading role in offering training, Edward said.

“There are people who have skills and education but they need a head start.”