Recently Canada has changed immigration policies to favour those in the skilled trades such as electricians, mechanics, plumbers etc. instead of professions such as doctors, engineers, lawyers. This is a story of Saeed who had electrical experience from Iran and is now an electrician here in Canada.
Saeed came to Canada in March 2008 from Mashhad, Iran. He had worked as an electrician’s helper at the International Airport Mashhad right after high school. He went on to university and studied agriculture in Jorift, Iran before coming to Canada.
When he came to Canada he started to study English at Level 3 at Overland Learning Centre. Saeed studied at Overland for a year. One day when he went to Skills for Change with a friend, he saw an interesting program on their bulletin board. The program was Maintenance Elector Mechanic.
The program had three sections: job search, practice and work placement. He learned how to search for a job, write a resume and prepare for interviews. He learned some of the differences in being an electrician in Canada. He had a six week volunteer placement. Gaining Canadian work experience through volunteer work is invaluable as every company asks for Canadian work experience.
Like all those wanting to apprentice as an electrician, Saeed had to find an employer who would hire him and teach him on the job, how to be an electrician. So he sat down with the Yellow Pages and starting calling. He called between fifty and sixty employers.
Since April 2010 he has been working. He needs to have about six years work experience before he can write the exam to become a licensed electrician. He was given about two years credit for his work experience at the International Airport Mashhad. He started in a basic position now he is a supervisor.
Like many newcomers, Saeed had put in time working at low paid jobs unrelated to his career, such as working at No Frills, before he found the program at Skills for Change which got him on his way to a skilled trade earning a good income.
The best news is Saeed has just bought a house. It took Saeed five and half years to settle into life in Canada. He gives thanks to God for his teachers, and the people who gave him the chance to show what he can do his boss.
For the past 31 years, Skills for Change has pioneered programs that respond to the shifting immigration and workplace trends. For Saeed it was providing Canadian workplace experience; for others it is providing a mentor. The mentoring program matches internationally trained educated professionals (mentees) with individuals who have a strong background in the same professional field (mentors). Call Skills for Change at 416-658-3101 or go to their web site www. skillsforchange.org They have four locations.