Discovering open doors at an engineering hiring fair

Salem moved to Calgary in July 2014 originally from Syria. Previously he worked in Oman as a Civil Engineer with the government, working on wastewater treatment projects for 10 years. Currently, he works as a project manager at Stantec, managing water and wastewater projects.

When Salem first moved to Canada, he landed in Ontario. One of the first things he did was look into re-accreditation of his engineering experience. After the evaluation of his work and academic experience, they did not accept 5 of his university subjects. It was discouraging for Salem, and because he could not get his engineering license, during that time he went back and forth between Oman and Canada in order to keep his previous job and support his family. This went on for a few more years, and after he finally received his provisional professional engineering license, he was required to move permanently to Canada. This time he decided to move to Calgary, Alberta.

When Salem came to Calgary with his family, they spent the first few months settling into the city and finding a home, and enrolling the kids into school. The children had to make new friends and become accustomed to the new culture. Also at the same time, his wife was pregnant, which gave him the pressure to find work right away.

One day as he was looking through the newspapers, he found an advertisement in the newspaper about an employment program at local immigrant agency. The program helped him to develop his resume writing, English, and networking skills. One time, the program facilitators brought the class to SAIT for a hiring fair. At the fair, he met with the Vice President of a company, and had an interview that same afternoon! This was how Salem landed his first job engineering job in Calgary. From there, he was able to gain Canadian work experience and start his career back in Engineering.

Some advice that Salem would give to new immigrant professionals coming to Canada “Get ahold of the professional accreditation body straight away! Accept any entry-level jobs in order to get your first step into the system, and enjoy your time! Make sure that you don’t reflect your own pressures on to your family or it will have very negative effects in the long run.”