Interview with Ray Sator, PEng. – Filipino Engineers and Geoscientists in Manitoba

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Ray posing with his Professional Engineer certificate Ray Sator’s journey to Manitoba seemed to be destined. Ray was already a Project Manager in one of the Philippines’ major telecom companies before coming to Manitoba. What pulled him away from an established life was his lady love. His then girlfriend, Rowena immigrated to the province in 2009. He knew he had to follow her here. After hurdling some challenges in the immigration process, Ray and Rowena were reunited a year after she arrived. The couple was married in Winnipeg less than two weeks after Ray landed.

Today, seven years after moving, Ray is well on his way to establishing himself in Canada. He currently works as a Traffic Engineering Specialist for Bell MTS, one of Manitoba’s biggest communications companies. After earning his Professional Engineer designation (and even during the process), he has actively volunteered his expertise as part of the Filipino Chapter of the Engineers, Geoscientists Association in Manitoba. He continues his laudable work as a member of the Executive Council, and the Membership and Mentorship Committee of the association.

English Online was fortunate to have a chance to chat with Ray and Rowena at a newcomer welcome event recently where the association set up a booth to answer inquiries from newly arrived engineers. Ray generously shared with us his journey towards being a registered engineer in Manitoba as well as other valuable tips for those who are thinking about starting their own path to registration:

English Online (EO): Could you share with us the steps an internationally-educated and trained engineer would have to go through to be registered? Is the process the same for all kinds of engineers?

Ray Sator (Ray): The steps are simple:

  1. Get your education assessed by Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba.
  2. Assessment would result to one of the following:
    • You’ll be deemed “Academically Qualified”
    • You will need to take exams or alternatives (confirmatory exams, equivalent courses, IEEQ Program, interview, Masters or PhD Program, or Fundamentals of Engineering Exam – new)
    • “Application Denied.” This is the result only if it is proven that the applicant does not have an Engineering or Geoscience degree
  3. If you have to take exams or alternatives, once you’ve completed your academics, you’ll need to take the ABC Test (Acts, By-laws and Code of Ethics) and apply as an Intern.
  4. A four-year experience is required before you can apply for P.Eng. designation. As an intern, you will need to submit engineering experience progress reports. If you have engineering experience from your home country, you can submit and qualify for three years’ experience. One year must be Canadian experience.
  5. When you complete 40 months of work experience as an Intern, Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba will request for references. You will need to submit through online feedback from three professional members who have knowledge of your work.
  6. Take the National Professional Practice Exam (NPPE). NPPE is a requirement before you can apply for Professional Engineering designation. You can take this at any time while you’re an intern.

The Engineering and Geoscience application process in Manitoba is the same for all engineering/geoscience disciplines. However, there are several pathways for getting your credentials recognized. You may want to take exams or other alternatives that will be available to you based on your assessment. This is completely up to you.

“I have not known anyone who has undergone the (registration) process say that it wasn’t worth it.”

EO: What were some of the biggest challenges in your journey to licensure/registration?

Ray: Some challenges I encountered along the way were related to financial, cultural and time management. I went to school full time so that meant that we only had one income. I could only work during the summer. Cultural integration at school was also something that I needed to adjust to. Good thing that cultural diversity was taught in the IEEQ program so I adjusted quickly and understood why things are done differently by certain groups of people of different cultural backgrounds. All these challenges are actually manageable. I guess the biggest challenge is to actually face your “fear of failure” and not being able to get your credentials recognized. Your reason for achieving your dream through P. Eng. designation must be bigger than your fear.

EO: What tips can you give someone who is looking to earn their licensure/registration in MB?

Ray: Here are several tips:

  1. Just do it! If you don’t do it you’ll end up wondering what could have happened if you tried it.
    To date, there are more than 120 Filipinos who have successfully undergone this process already. You can connect with them through the Filipino Members Chapter – Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba. They are all willing to help if you want to help yourself. Learn from their experiences, their mistakes and their successes.
  2. Network with engineering associations and expose yourself to the engineering industry.
  3. Know the services that are available that may help you achieve the P.Eng designation as well as keep yourself updated on the changes in the engineering recognition process. For example, a year or two ago, the “Fundamental of Engineering Exams” was adopted by Manitoba. It is one exam with 110 multiple choice questions.
  4. Involve your family when you decide to pursue engineering as a profession. Get their support. It would be easier if your family is behind you supporting your endeavor.

EO: Would you say that Engineering is a flourishing profession in Manitoba? Would you recommend internationally-educated and trained engineers to practice their profession here?

Ray: This is very hard to predict as everything is anchored to Manitoba’s economy. What I can tell you is that I have not known anyone who has undergone the process say that it wasn’t worth it. You can visit the Engineers Canada website and see the engineering labour market forecast per discipline for the next five years.

Would I recommend internationally-educated and trained engineers to practice their profession here in Manitoba? Certainly! Although, it is entirely their decision to pursue their dreams. What I would recommend for those who have an engineering degree is to learn what the process is and get it from the right sources. Make an informed decision based on the correct information. Note that when they get their P.Eng. designation in Manitoba, you can also practice engineering in other provinces through its mobility program.

EO: What services does the Engineers, Geoscientists Association in Manitoba (Filipino Members Chapter) offer to engineers who have just arrived in MB?

Ray: The Filipino Members Chapter – Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba is a non-profit organization. We operate with members volunteering to give back to the community and to the profession. Like other members, since 2011, I have personally been helping people who want to get their engineering degree recognized. Eleven of them are now engineering interns and two are now Professional Engineers. They even got their P.Eng. designation faster than I did!

The Filipino Members Chapter now has a website. Here you will find important information about the credential recognition process. You will also find links to more helpful information. We conduct orientation sessions for newcomers. Just last year, we conducted an orientation not only for newcomers but also for those who have been in Manitoba for a while. More than 200 people attended the orientation. We also partnered with Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) for videos on engineering credential process. The videos talk about the process of getting an engineering credential recognition featuring people who successfully completed the process (you can watch the videos through the links below).

EO: Do you accept applicants from other nationalities as members or is the association exclusive to Filipinos?

Ray: Yes, we do have members who are not Filipinos. The Filipino Members Chapter – Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba is the first ethnic group that was vetted by the Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba. The association also supports other ethnic group chapters such as the Chinese, Indian and Arab chapters.

EO: Any other message to other engineers, especially newcomers who are aspiring to practice their profession in Manitoba?

Ray: Make an informed decision. Learn the process, learn it from the correct sources so you get the right information. Network with people who have done it successfully. Learn from their experience, know their challenges, and learn how they overcame their challenges.

Where to best meet these successful engineers? Attend the Filipino Members Chapter – Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba activities and become a member of the chapter. You can find the schedule of our activities on our website and on Facebook.

Tips and takeaways:

  1. Face your fears. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be motivated by your reason to succeed.
  2. Involve your family when you decide to pursue engineering as a profession. It will be easier if your family is behind you supporting your endeavor.
  3. Always get the most recent and accurate information when researching about requirements and procedures for registration. Only get them from reliable sources. Benefit from the mentorship of those have succeeded.
  4. Connect and network. Become a member of relevant groups/associations.
  5. Look for services that can help you achieve your designation. There are many government/non-government programs in Manitoba that assist newcomers for free. Many of these you will find out when you network and become exposed to members of your profession.

Disclaimer: English Online shares stories of newcomers who have successfully achieved their licensure or certification for the purpose of encouraging other newcomers who are aspiring to practice their regulated professions in Manitoba. As personal circumstances, credentials, and experiences vary from person to person; the experience related in the feature may not be the same for all aspirants. Also, rules, eligibility requirements and procedures may have changed from the time the featured professional completed their licence to the time the story was published. Therefore, it is important that internationally-educated and trained professionals contact and connect with their respective professional associations or regulatory bodies to get up-to-date information. English Online does not provide credential assessment or qualifications recognition services.

Engineering Credential Process (video series with SOPA)

Copy and paste to your Chrome or Firefox browser to view the webinars if they don’t play automatically. Videos courtesy of Ray Sator and Milagros Dacwag of SOPA.

Engineering Credential Recognition Process in Manitoba
by Ray Sator, PEng. (Electrical Engineering), Traffic Engineering Specialist at Bell MTS

The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam
by Edwin Madera, EIT (Mechanical Engineering), CAD Design Assistant at Specialloy Industries

Confirmatory Exam
by Jeraldine Velasco, EIT (Metallurgical Engineering), Metallurgist at Griffin Wheels Canada

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Community Resources

For more information on registration and other details, go to the Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba website

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