Mohammad Hossein Iranmanesh starts his day with a run twice around the Halifax Common. It’s a pleasant way for the soft-spoken engineer to clear his mind and to stay fit.
Mohammad and his wife Farzaneh arrived in Canada from Iran five years ago to follow their son, a Dalhousie University student. Mohammad wanted him to study abroad because of political unrest in Iran. His son now has his Master’s in computer science and electronic commerce and works in Halifax.
Mohammad, a mechanical and marine engineer, came in the Skilled Workers’ program and expected to find work easily. Other than a short-term Work Placement opportunity through ISANS with Bio Gas Energy Inc, he has yet to be successful. He even worked for a while in China and Malaysia to cover his expenses here.
Mohammad’s career is impressive. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado and received an Iranian government scholarship to study marine engineering at the Maine Maritime Academy. He returned to Iran to work in a naval shipyard and later was sent to France to supervise construction of naval ships. He eventually left the navy and joined commercial shipping, working throughout the world on bulk carriers and container ships.
Mohammad worked in Kuwait and traveled to the Canary Islands to buy ships for his company, have them refitted and returned to Iran. He then worked in oil and gas projects for five years in Korea and Japan for an Iranian company. He could find work in Alberta, but wants to stay in Halifax. “It was hard for my family as I was always away.”
He is focused on finding employment, but has encountered resistance, possibly because of his age and experience. “They sometimes want to hire a newer engineer at a low salary,” he explains. And because he’s Iranian, obtaining security clearance at the port is difficult. To increase his employability, he is now studying for his Power Engineer Certificate which will allow him to operated particular equipment in Nova Scotia.
Mohammad prefers work as a mechanical or maintenance engineer, fixing equipment on a ship or managing and supervising projects. “I have modified my resume many times, for each job I apply for,” he says, admitting his frustration. “I can be very useful for consulting companies.” Despite these challenges, he appreciates Halifax. “I like Halifax very much. It’s a friendly atmosphere and easy to get around.”
Mohammad has used many ISANS services. He completed the Orientation and Communication Skills for Engineers; he received Employment Counselling and Mentorship; and he has taken computer courses. He represents international engineers in the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group. His wife takes conversational English classes. She volunteers with the elderly, while he’s also a board member in his apartment building. “I’ve always been active 12 to 14 hours a day. I can’t sit and do nothing.”
Mohammad and Farzaneh are thankful to ISANS. “The Work Placement Program is an excellent idea to get familiar about what is expected here. I benefited a lot.” Now, to find that perfect job.