Job-seekers itemize skills and experience to be easily accessed by potential employers
Despite being the largest cohort of skilled immigrants to Canada, internationally trained engineers have been locked out of the profession for years – only 15 per cent find work in their field.
On Wednesday, an organization dedicated to helping this group officially launches an online database and search engine designed to match qualified foreign-trained and Canadian graduate engineers with jobs for which they are trained.
The new tool, dubbed Leveraging Global Engineering Skills and funded by the province, has already won the support of Owais Rafiq, vice-president of a Toronto engineering firm.
His DOERS Inc. has hired a dozen internationally trained engineers for contract jobs through a pilot developed by the Toronto-based non-profit organization Council for Access to the Profession of Engineering (CAPE).
"The tool is based on P.Eng. (professional engineering) descriptions. Employers put in what is needed and get a short list. It certainly can help internationally trained engineers get their foot in the door and be confident that their skills are captured accurately," Rafiq said.
Roughly 12,000 engineers have arrived each year in the past decade, but most cite a lack of Canadian experience and professional networking as barriers to finding work.
"This (database) means that applicants are no longer customizing their resumes to jobs or making hundreds of job applications," said CAPE executive director Gurmeet Bambrah. "And employers don't have to wade through thousands of customized resumes to find employees."
Bambrah said the new tool focuses on narrowing competency and skills descriptions in a thorough checklist used by both employers and job seekers, so "they are on the same page."
Peggy Pan, an environmental engineer in waste water and sewage treatment, said the standardized job descriptions helped her better describe her skill sets in Canadian engineering terminology.
"I didn't know what kind of jobs here would match my background. I didn't know what my experience was relevant to an employer," said Tan, who came here from China in 2007 and landed a job in the same field in April after participating in the pilot project.
Rafiq said the search engine is user-friendly and turns up a list of the most fitting candidates, while running a skills-gap analysis that identifies a candidate's missing skills so employers can decide what additional training is needed.
For information, visit www.capeinfo.ca/LGEC.php.