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Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Old May 15th 2009, 1:16 pm
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Default Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Hello all,

I am due to move out to Canada in two weeks time, I am looking forward to getting my new life on track asap, but at the same time aprehensive and nervous about leaving my family and friends and the unknowns that await me - the culture, the people, and just the difference in day to day life etc. I will be living with a friend at first so this will make things a lot easier.

However one of the things that concerns me at present is employment... I am a draughtsman in engineering, obviously we are in the midst of tough times, all industries are affected by I feel manufacturing/engineering is always hit hard. Therefore the big concern to me is trying to obtain employment in this industry at a time like this with no Canadian experience...apart from a differnent working culture, the big thing to me is converting myself from the metric system to the imperial system...I feel this is quite a learning curve in its self, without taking into account learning the companies working procedures an its product.

Are there any design engineers/draughtspersons reading this that have gone thro what I am about to do - if one has never worked with the imperial system - its quite a big change to take on. As it obviousuly not only affects dimensions but thread forms, weight, volume, pressure, flow rates .... the list goes on! I would like to hear from anyone who has gone thro this after moving to Canada - how flexible was your employer?, were you expected to hit the deck running, or were you given time to adapt?, it worries me that during these times, employers arnt going to look favourably on someone that has got to learn the imperial system from the word go on top of the "normal" things that come with a new job. I cant be the only one that is or has gone thro this - I would be very interested to hear about your experiences.

Thanks for reading

Paul
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Old May 15th 2009, 1:29 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Originally Posted by Paul_Shepherd View Post
Hello all,

I am due to move out to Canada in two weeks time, I am looking forward to getting my new life on track asap, but at the same time aprehensive and nervous about leaving my family and friends and the unknowns that await me - the culture, the people, and just the difference in day to day life etc. I will be living with a friend at first so this will make things a lot easier.

However one of the things that concerns me at present is employment... I am a draughtsman in engineering, obviously we are in the midst of tough times, all industries are affected by I feel manufacturing/engineering is always hit hard. Therefore the big concern to me is trying to obtain employment in this industry at a time like this with no Canadian experience...apart from a differnent working culture, the big thing to me is converting myself from the metric system to the imperial system...I feel this is quite a learning curve in its self, without taking into account learning the companies working procedures an its product.

Are there any design engineers/draughtspersons reading this that have gone thro what I am about to do - if one has never worked with the imperial system - its quite a big change to take on. As it obviousuly not only affects dimensions but thread forms, weight, volume, pressure, flow rates .... the list goes on! I would like to hear from anyone who has gone thro this after moving to Canada - how flexible was your employer?, were you expected to hit the deck running, or were you given time to adapt?, it worries me that during these times, employers arnt going to look favourably on someone that has got to learn the imperial system from the word go on top of the "normal" things that come with a new job. I cant be the only one that is or has gone thro this - I would be very interested to hear about your experiences.

Thanks for reading

Paul
I suggest you ask the mods to move this into the main Canada forum. You'll get more help there. Perhaps not instantly, though. We have a 3-day weekend coming up.
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Old May 15th 2009, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

hI

I work for a consulting engineer and we work in metric.

I have however had to convert units as some suppliers on the job we work on work in imperial (we didn't procure them).

I think most engineers work in metric in canada?

In our office none of the CAD draughtsmen are from canada, all have english as a second language and so all have been trained in metric. However - that is calgary. My boss told me when I was interviewed that he just cannot attract more good CAD people and they earn a lot. Of course that was a year ago and they are not so desparate now!

Gryph
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Old May 15th 2009, 1:32 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Originally Posted by Paul_Shepherd View Post
Hello all,

I am due to move out to Canada in two weeks time, I am looking forward to getting my new life on track asap, but at the same time aprehensive and nervous about leaving my family and friends and the unknowns that await me - the culture, the people, and just the difference in day to day life etc. I will be living with a friend at first so this will make things a lot easier.

However one of the things that concerns me at present is employment... I am a draughtsman in engineering, obviously we are in the midst of tough times, all industries are affected by I feel manufacturing/engineering is always hit hard. Therefore the big concern to me is trying to obtain employment in this industry at a time like this with no Canadian experience...apart from a differnent working culture, the big thing to me is converting myself from the metric system to the imperial system...I feel this is quite a learning curve in its self, without taking into account learning the companies working procedures an its product.

Are there any design engineers/draughtspersons reading this that have gone thro what I am about to do - if one has never worked with the imperial system - its quite a big change to take on. As it obviousuly not only affects dimensions but thread forms, weight, volume, pressure, flow rates .... the list goes on! I would like to hear from anyone who has gone thro this after moving to Canada - how flexible was your employer?, were you expected to hit the deck running, or were you given time to adapt?, it worries me that during these times, employers arnt going to look favourably on someone that has got to learn the imperial system from the word go on top of the "normal" things that come with a new job. I cant be the only one that is or has gone thro this - I would be very interested to hear about your experiences.

Thanks for reading

Paul
i thought canada was metric (i'm dont know engineering) but having worked there for a year as a vet- everything seemed to be in metric (the USA was imperial, however)
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Old May 15th 2009, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Canada is metric but if you are doing work for the Yanks then its imperial.

OP - where are you moving too?

Last edited by Brownstar; May 15th 2009 at 5:10 pm.
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Old May 15th 2009, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

And just to confuse things even more, although Canada officially uses the metric system, building sites use imperial.

Try going into Rona and asking for some 5.08 x 10.16 x 2.4384 lumber!
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Old May 15th 2009, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

It really is a mix, depending on clients. If your client is government, cities, municipalites etc. then metric is the choice, random clients usually tend to sway towards imperial. I didn't really find it a problem. If you really get stuck, there are plenty of online convertors. For example, in calculations you could do all your work in metric then just convert your final answer to the necessary for etc, although before long you'll be comfortable in both.
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Old May 15th 2009, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

I've found that in terms of work at a consulting engineer, metric units are used on all drawings/specifications etc. However, in conversation a mixture of metric/imperial units may be used eg l/s to g/m or kPa to psi depending on the preference of the individual. The older the person the more likely imperial units will crop up.

Equipment and materials produced for the USA market will generally not use metric units and instead use imperial units (or the US version of imperial units as the volumetric units in particular are different). Certainly any oil related projects will make significant use of US standards. Some equipment is also described in a curious combination of SI/US units eg a filter may have a mesh size of XX microns but a flow capacity of XX gallons/min.

Overall I'd say it's not that different from the UK and not something to be particularly concerned about.
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Old May 16th 2009, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Hey mate,

I'm an Electrical Drafty...my experience has always been resources related but getting a job in Calgary was beyond impossible and htis was in March.

But good luck and if you get employment make sure you let us know i'm still keen to go back mid next year for another crack if things improve.
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Old May 17th 2009, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Originally Posted by gryphea View Post
hI

I work for a consulting engineer and we work in metric.

I have however had to convert units as some suppliers on the job we work on work in imperial (we didn't procure them).

I think most engineers work in metric in canada?

In our office none of the CAD draughtsmen are from canada, all have english as a second language and so all have been trained in metric. However - that is calgary. My boss told me when I was interviewed that he just cannot attract more good CAD people and they earn a lot. Of course that was a year ago and they are not so desparate now!

Gryph

hey gryph, what form of consulting engineering are you in? i'm a building services engineer myself
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Old May 18th 2009, 7:33 am
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Originally Posted by jimf View Post
I've found that in terms of work at a consulting engineer, metric units are used on all drawings/specifications etc. However, in conversation a mixture of metric/imperial units may be used eg l/s to g/m or kPa to psi depending on the preference of the individual. The older the person the more likely imperial units will crop up.

Equipment and materials produced for the USA market will generally not use metric units and instead use imperial units (or the US version of imperial units as the volumetric units in particular are different). Certainly any oil related projects will make significant use of US standards. Some equipment is also described in a curious combination of SI/US units eg a filter may have a mesh size of XX microns but a flow capacity of XX gallons/min.

Overall I'd say it's not that different from the UK and not something to be particularly concerned about.

Hello all,

Thankyou all for your replies, very much appreciated, perhaps I am worrying too much! (no change there!) I thought it was strange that Canada used kilometres for general disatance and millilitres for measuring fluid, then in general maufacturing used imperial!

When I was over there in September I had two job interviews one with a water treatment company, and one with a conveyor manufacturing company, both used imperial, however the lion's share of work both companies did was for the states, so that would explain that.

I think its like many people have said in this thead, perhaps Canada isn't a lot different to the UK, when refering to measurements/weight the choice of units in many cases depends on the age of the person, ive worked with many old school draughtsmen in the UK, who although work in metric still prefer to reference estimated dimensions or weight in imperial - old habits die hard I suppose!

From the feed back I have recieved on here I think its best if I prepare myself as best I can, as in many cases I may not encounter heavy use of the imperial system initially, depending on the company and the destination of its product.

Thanks again for all your responses - it has reassured me a little, its not a major issue - It was just learning the imperial system was just one other thing for me to learn/overcome in additon to all the normal things that come with migration!

Paul
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Old May 18th 2009, 10:07 am
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Default Re: Working in Engineering - converting from UK to Canada

Hi all
I have been following the info on this thread as my hubby is a mechanical design engineer. It is the funny little thing about the work that make you think can you do it.
We are going over next month to activate visas and job hunt again in Calgary area. We had a couple of interviews last September, if we had got the visas then we would of got the job. So we shall see what the job market is like now.

Good luck to all on the job hunting.
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