Internationally Educated Engineers (IEE) are professionals who have migrated from different countries to Canada in search of better opportunities, lifestyle and a work-life balance. It also gives opportunities to implement the latest technology and design principles, build and analyse objects, and find solutions. But there are some expectations of IEE’s to practise engineering in Canada.
I immigrated to Canada in October 2017 from India as an electrical engineer with 8 years of experience in the power utility sector (transmission and distribution). With the help of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) Bridging Program, I got an opportunity to work with Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSPI) for 3 months. My short-term engineering experience in NSPI allowed me to understand the approach and requirements expected from IEE’s. Also, currently I am pursuing a course at ISANS called Orientation and Communication Skills for Engineers which is co-designed by Engineers Nova Scotia and ISANS. This course is giving me a clearer understanding of the workplace communication skills needed to be a successful engineer in Canada.
The role of an engineer in Canada is not just to have technical expertise, but also to act in a manner that benefits an entire society and ecosystem. To monitor this, we have a regulatory body which sets out guidelines for every engineer practising in Canada. I observed this during the first week of my work placement at NSPI. All the engineering consultants and subject matter experts may have varying approaches to finding solutions to problems, but all have a similar code of conduct. Since I was working with a team of highly experienced professionals (20-30 years of experience), my learning curve was steep. Also, the team was eager to know about my experiences and ideas which gave them a different perspective to solve the same problem. Another key difference that I observed was the approach of studying all the possible solutions in-depth before implementing the best solution. This shows the openness to new ideas and change.
While practising engineering, continuing education is encouraged so that all engineers are up to date with respect to technology and advancement in their field of expertise. A seminar on engineering ethics with Kris Dove, COO at Engineers Nova Scotia, guided around twenty aspiring professional engineers about the right to say ‘NO’ to the employer if there is any threat or harm to the safety of humans or the environment. Also, an engineer can go to the regulatory body with any ethical dilemmas.
Most of the IEE’s that come to Canada have many years of experience and are enthusiastic to work in a new country. We look for an opportunity to contribute and help society by finding solutions. Engineering principles are the same across the globe and all IEE’s are aware of the responsibilities of being an engineer. The major change here is to get a license and practise under the regulatory body.
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