Recent hire hits the right note

Recent hire hits the right note

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Contributors: Rohini Mangla (Outreach Coordinator, Labour, Skills and Immigration) | Published: November 1, 2022

What a close call. One of Nova Scotia’s most dynamic music businesses almost missed out on a great new employee, and the province came close to losing international talent.

After four years at Mount Saint Vincent University, Ghanian graduate Kwasi Asare-Adjei wanted to live and build his career in Nova Scotia, but he had spent months looking for a good job and come up short. Asare-Adjei was on the brink of looking to another province for work when he had a conversation with the owner of Leaf Music, Jeremy VanSlyke, who offered him a job looking after the company’s finances.

The books are in great shape and Asare-Adjei is impacting the business in ways his employer hadn’t even imagined. “Kwasi is exceptionally gifted at managing client relations. Our clients love working with him and appreciate his support navigating the complex world of budgets and grants,” says VanSlyke. “His skills and knowledge are extremely valuable to our clients and our organization.”

International award-winning soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee counts among his fans. “I have worked with Asare-Adjei through Leaf Music during the global pandemic and beyond. He has been essential to my business’ survival and, in a time when everything that can be shaken is getting shook, he’s been a dependable, knowledgeable, and resourceful rock for me and the other entrepreneurs lucky enough to work with him. The province of Nova Scotia is beyond lucky to call him a resident.”

Leaf Music is one of Canada’s most active classical music recording labels, receiving two JUNO nominations last year and Classical Album of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards in May. Over the last few years, the business has diversified significantly from producing and marketing CDs to promoting music on streaming platforms and crafting digital strategies to help artists grow their audiences.

“The music we are dealing with is 200 or 300 years old, but the industry processes that we use to bring it to market are constantly changing. It is critical for us to be flexible and open to learning,” says VanSlyke. “Having recent grads on the team helps us stay ahead. Kwasi is the second recent grad we have hired, and we are happy we found him.”

Leaf Music hired Asare-Adjei with the help of the Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program. GTO provides salary incentives to small businesses, start-ups, social enterprises, and non-profits to hire recent graduates for new, permanent, full-time jobs. Employers receive 25% of the grad’s first-year salary — 35% if the grad is a member of an equity-seeking group — and 12.5% of the grad’s second-year salary.

“With the labour market being so tight, it’s been hard to find and keep people who are good at what they do and compete with salaries being offered by bigger companies,” says VanSlyke. “GTO has been really helpful to us in bringing in new employees and growing our business. The Diversity Bonus is especially useful as we work to maintain a diverse workforce.”

Asare-Adjei is currently on the road to becoming a CPA and has already applied for his PR. “Nova Scotia has a great community atmosphere, which I haven't encountered anywhere else. I am grateful for programs such as GTO which gives employers the flexibility of offering jobs to fresh out-of-school grads and gives international graduates like myself a chance to stay in Nova Scotia.” says Asare-Adjei.” I look forward to settling down here.”

More than 1,100 employers across Nova Scotia have tapped into GTO for hiring talented recent graduates like Kwasi Asare-Adjei. Have you checked it out yet?

Learn more about the GTO program at:

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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