Mechanical engineer Hamed Soleimani arrived in Nova Scotia in December 2012 from Iran with 10 years work experience, but without the realization of how hard it would be to become an accredited engineer here. Luckily, he discovered the Career Pathway Loan Fund at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) which helped him work toward getting his licence. Hamed is now quality manager for DSTN, a Trenton NS company that manufactures wind towers for renewable energy.
Hamed followed his wife who is in her third year civil engineering at Dalhousie. Her parents and siblings were here too which made settlement easier for him. “I do miss Iran, but here there are good opportunities for living; it’s more friendly; better for growing.”
Hamed first focused on learning English, and then enrolled in ISANS’ three-month program called Orientation and Communication Skills for Engineers. “That was good, as you are with other engineers.” Engineers Nova Scotia recognizes completion of this course as three months of the one-year Canadian work experience needed for licensure. Hamed, who has a specialty in heat and fluid with advanced licensure levels, received a work placement at Pinto Engineering Ltd. It went well and was extended beyond the required three months. “Working at Pinto was very helpful for me because I never worked in a Canadian environment before. We have a good relationship until now; they still call me to ask questions.” While there he took an online course and received a certificate in HVAC. Hamed also designed procedures and structures to enable the company to obtain the ISO 9001:2008 Standard – requirements necessary for a quality management system.
After a comprehensive interview process, he became a manager at DSTN. Hamed works with a team of seven inspectors and says he is able to draw on past experience. Even though he drives almost two hours home to Halifax each weekend, the job is satisfying. Hamed works at least 11 hours daily and often writes reports on the weekends. “I feel that they’re happy with my performance. It’s a comfortable job for me. Every day I learn something.” Hamed likes the work culture although it is different than Iran.
Hamed is thankful other Iranians recommended ISANS to him. “It’s a difficult situation as most immigrants come here with lots of experience that isn’t matched here.” He recommends that immigrants try hard to find a company that fits – with ISANS’ help. “Here in Canada they need narrow, specific skills – not wide.” Hamed says finding a job is difficult. “You must be very honest with the employer. Don’t exaggerate your skills.” If he doesn’t have all the qualifications for a position, he always says he will do his best.
Hamed used ISANS’ Career Pathway Loan Fund for assistance with living expenses so he could concentrate on studying for his engineering licence. He took the financial literacy sessions to learn how the loan works. ISANS also arranged for a bank appointment to understand how to manage the loan. Hamed is now waiting to hear from Engineers Nova Scotia for permission to write his exams.
Since he writes several emails a day, Hamed is improving his business writing skills through an ISANS online course. “When I go home at midnight I open my laptop and open the course,” says the energetic Hamed. “I improved a lot.” Hamed is content with life and appreciative of the assistance ISANS provides. “I like my job, my workplace, my staff. I have lots of plans for that facility to increase quality and the staff’s knowledge.” Hamed, ISANS and DSTN are obviously a good fit.