From police inspector to hotel reception manager, Mark has lived a few lives. He spent 31 years in the police force in London, where he had many different roles throughout his career. He spent his final years in training positions but has also been an inspector and part of the SWAT team.
Although he’s in a different industry working as the reception manager at Ainsworth Hot Springs, he says his negotiation skills and ability to ‘keep the peace’ have not gone away. “There are similarities when it comes to dealing with people in customer service,” he says. “What I love most is when it’s busy, and there are three or four different things that need to be done urgently. I love that little bit of pressure. It brings me back to my policing days. The more problems there are, the more I enjoy it.”
A big difference between Canada and the UK is the sense of space and it’s something Mark loves. “I think there’s just that higher sense of freedom,” he says. “In the UK, you don’t drive at certain times because you know you’re going to sit in traffic. Here, you can just jump in your car and go wherever you like. There’s plenty of space.”
Mark and his wife came to Canada in 2018 from London, England and quickly purchased an acreage near Kaslo where Mark enjoys spending his time. “That’s a hobby for me: having some land to manage and learning some skills around there. I’d always wanted to own land but never had the ability to. It’s fun. I like being outdoors.” Mark also owns a boat for sunny days on the lake and loves that the community he lives in is so tight-knit.
When Mark tried to obtain his permanent residency (PR) through the Provincial Nominee program, several criteria were working against him. “My qualifications weren’t in the areas they were looking for,” says Mark. “The benefit of RNIP for someone like me, who just wants to be an honest, hard-working person and wants to be involved in a business in the community, is that they sit down and look at my skills and what I can bring. Unlike the federal and provincial schemes which are essentially just blocks of criteria and don’t take into account anything personal.”
Mark was also impressed with how available RNIP Program Manager, Erin Rooney, was to answer his questions. “This program gives people access,” he explains. “There are so many people going through the immigration process and getting stuck searching the internet. It’s not easy. It’s great to have a go-to person that you can contact.”
On October 26, 2021, Mark achieved his PR and joined one of the many applicants that successfully made it through the West Kootenay RNIP program, a program that changes lives.