From an early age, mechanical engineering has been Vadim’s passion. His interest in this field started at 16, while he was studying at a technical high school in his home country, Israel. His passion moved him to accomplish an early certification as a mechanical technologist, which led him to become a millwright of heavy duty mechanical equipment in the military. Later on, he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering (Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and System Engineering) and built a fruitful career as a manufacturing and design engineer. So when Vadim and his family decided to immigrate to Manitoba in 2011, there was no doubt in his mind that he would pursue mechanical engineering as his profession in Canada.
Prior to the move, Vadim and his wife conducted a considerable amount of research about living conditions in Manitoba and the job market as well. They loved that Canada had freedom of speech, valued human rights and was impressed with its diverse natural beauty. “We also found out that Manitoba has an affordable housing market, good health system, childcare and school division programs, and a diverse job market. It is a great place for a young couple to raise their kids,” he said. They had also visited Winnipeg in 2008 and liked that it was a small city with quiet neighborhoods and parks.
Of course, Vadim gathered information about how he can be a practicing engineer in Canada and in Manitoba, specifically. He spent hours perusing government sites, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) site, and organizations offering financial help for professionals like him. He also explored forum websites and emailed people and organizations to know more. Despite this, he felt that most of the information he acquired were general in nature, and did not provide answers to questions that were specific to his case.
Arriving in Manitoba
Vadim, his wife, and one year old daughter came to Manitoba in January, in the middle of winter. “I remember it was below 20, and it was a huge transition for my family and me because in my home Netanya (Israel), temperatures in the winter stayed at least above +12 degrees,” he said.
Nevertheless, he worked right away on finding out more about practicing his profession in Manitoba. And in the first few years, he earned his Certificate of Engineering Technologist (CET) diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He then started working in engineering-related jobs in Winnipeg and studying at the University of Manitoba, enrolling in the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification (IEEQ) Program. Currently, Vadim is on his final year and is well on his way to becoming a professional Engineer.
“My goal, when I’m working with a client, is to build a session for him, and provide as much information related to his specific case. During our sessions, we define our objectives and come up with the best plan of action to achieve them.”
Opportunity to help
“In my opinion, one of the most difficult decisions people have to make during the immigration process is to leave a job or career that they love, especially if they are successful in it. In many cases, their profession is their passion. They worked hard, and spent time and money to achieve their degree, so it would be hard for them to understand why they would have to start almost from zero when they come here,” Vadim said.
Having experienced this first-hand, and after seeing that research prior to coming here is not enough, he felt that he had a unique opportunity to help out. He started volunteering as a Career e-mentor at English Online in 2015 with the purpose of helping newcomers realize that they can achieve their target of being an engineer in Canada and making the integration process smoother for them.
“My goal, when I’m working with a client, is to build a session for him, and provide as much information related to his specific case. During our sessions, we define our objectives and come up with the best plan of action to achieve them. We talk about creating a targeted resume, preparing for an interview, and focusing his job search by creating a list of companies he can apply to. I also dedicate sessions on Canadian and Manitoban government agencies he can receive help from, general topics related to day-to-day life in Winnipeg, dealing with emergencies, about hydro, MPI, and of course basic things about dealing with winter,” Vadim shared.
Despite having to manage his time between work, studies and his family life (he now has two small children), Vadim takes on the challenge of doing research and preparing a mentoring plan tailor-fitted to his mentees. He does not want to talk about his contributions, but he has assisted several English Online learners greatly in their transition, even helping one get a job quickly because of his guidance in crafting a targeted resume. A true mentor, he says that: “This experience is a learning experience for my mentee and me as well. Sharing information is definitely beneficial for both of us.”
Tips for other newcomers
Vadim shares six important pointers for newcomers to succeed in Manitoba:
- Define your goals and plan for your future
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for immigration is to make a list of goals and the ways you plan to achieve them based on your current knowledge. This list will help you be prepared and guide you in looking for the information that you need and where you might get them. Stay positive and continue to move toward these goals, gradually. The path might be difficult and challenging sometimes, but achieving them is definitely possible.
- Believe in yourself
There may be a lot of uncertainty in the future, but you already made a brave decision. This shows that you are strong, as only strong people make these kinds of decisions. Moreover, you will find that many wonderful people will help you along the way. You’re not alone.
- Ask questions
Try to ask questions and make notes all the time. You might need the information in the future.
- Use available resources for new immigrants
Manitoba has a lot to offer and many of these resources are for free. Take advantage of these support services because they are made specifically to meet your needs.
- Understand that Canada is multicultural society and workplace culture might be different from what you are used to
Spend time researching and asking questions from people who have the experience.
- Be open to changes
Be ready for new work, new school, and new friends. Navigating this requires flexibility and openness toward changes.
Interested in being a mentee or a volunteer career e-mentor? Read about English Online’s volunteer and mentoring programs.