British Expats

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-   -   2.5 years around Calgary (https://britishexpats.com/forum/canniversary-103/2-5-years-around-calgary-934093/)

Shakyuk Jul 31st 2020 3:58 pm

2.5 years around Calgary
 
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...a7d1c52184.jpg

I haven't been around much since moving to Canada, life was busy and I guess both mine and my partners lives changed in such a way that we haven't spent as much time on any social media but I thought I'd check in and post a 2.5 year anniversary just in case anyone is interested. :lol:

Firstly - was it the right choice for us? 100% yes. We are both so thankful that we made this move and that so far it has worked out well.
Thank you to everyone on this forum who answered my many questions; this forum and the knowledge here really helped.

Year 1 - 2018
This was an extremely hard year, I had been planning to move to Alberta in Canada for years but the oil price crash and political situation made Alberta's economy look sketchy to say the least.
We arrived January 2018, lots of snow on the ground (below was one of our first walks to the shops), freezing cold temperatures but we were happy for the new adventure. Neither of us had jobs and so we had arranged to rent a basement room in what is a house targeted at students but gets a mix of people.

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...f1da1ccbb8.jpg

Finding work was VERY hard. The idea of 'Canadian experience' is ridiculous but it is a very real barrier to entry. The irony is that generally speaking British people do very well in Canada due to our work ethic.
My girlfriend was a dementia nurse in the UK, it took around 2 months but she eventually landed a casual position as a health care aide which was our lifeline as we were burning through savings.
It took me 5 months to find a job, I registered at all immigration centres, I spent every Mon to Fri daytime either at an immigration centre trying to make leads or walking around Calgary going into companies handing in resumes, I spent my evenings applying online and trying to network on linkedin. I did this for the entire 5 months, I got next to zero responses, call backs, interviews or networking opportunities. After 5 months we were considering moving to another province as I was getting more luck there, a NZ and Canadian couple we met did end up moving to BC because they weren't able to find work. We had a good life for UK standards and this was an extremely stressful time; it was very hard on our relationship and we really questioned if we had done the right thing.

We met up with AlmostCanadian; this was very nice for us - we really appreciated the positivity you had and the encouragement you gave us to stick at it as things will work out eventually.

Luckily I had met another English guy through his youtube video, he put me in touch with a Canadian engineer he worked with, I ended up applying for a very junior position at their company and was hired. I can't stress enough to people moving that you need to have savings, keep your costs low and prepare for extreme difficulty - you may get lucky or you may end up like us. Getting this job was the turning point for us, we could enjoy summer, we hiked some mountains (below is Mount Baldy with my French friend), got our own basement, made some friends.

https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...221ff41a8e.jpg

Years 2 - 2019
It was still and still is a lot of work and stress but this year things really started to get better; my girlfriend applied for a job at a new facility and she got a full time position. I was promoted to head my area and then promoted again to manage a large part of the maintenance operation. We bought a house in Okotoks, got a dog, made some friends, hiked many more mountains (below is us going up Mount Sparrowhawk), camped, BBQ's, ski'd, snowboarded, cycled the millions of cycle paths in Calgary, went to Stampede, ate too many donuts.

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...bb8813ae37.jpg

Our friends who we met when we landed ended up returning to France as he couldn't get a job in his field here - this shows the risk and it was very sad to see them leave.

It's now 2.5 years and I'd say we're close to being settled in, once my girlfriend has her nurse registration we'll be much better placed. We're very thankful we're here through this pandemic rather than in the UK and very thankful we have kept our jobs as we have no safety net of family on long established friendships out here.

I was an engineer in the UK, APEGA said they recognised my experience but not my qualifications (diploma, degree, masters and chartered engineer) - this is particularly frustrating as they want me to do a degree in Canada yet I've met many PEng engineers and for some of them, in the words of Shania Twain 'they don't impress me much'. Some of the drawings produced here would get you fired in the UK, technology isn't utilised, the quality of checking and approvals, change control etc. just isn't up to the same standards as Europe yet I need to redo my degree here or attempt all of the final year exams from a degree. Frustrating to say the least. I'm thinking I'll register with ASET who regulate technicians and get my PMP but I'm undecided on going for PEng now. This paragraph is what I would have wanted to read (and did read often) before coming out here.

Even with the stress of starting over, the ups and downs and pressure on our relationship; life is good, we love where we are and the decision to come here; we both feel like we would never return by choice and can't wait to get our citizenship.

When this pandemic is over if anyone in the Calgary regions wants to go for a coffee or a beer, let me know!

That's all from Rick, Danielle and Eddie the dog

https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...4012b0085e.jpg

Jerseygirl Jul 31st 2020 5:10 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Wow...what a great update, fabulous photos too. Eddie looks gorgeous...as does your girlfriend and you are not too bad either. ;)

thank you for taking the time and trouble to update us. All the very best for the future.

Hurlabrick Jul 31st 2020 8:40 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Congratulations on your perseverance, looks like it paid off! I am sure your story will be very helpful to others who are looking to follow.

MillieF Aug 2nd 2020 1:17 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
What a lovely family you are...well done in going forward and not giving in. It’s a huge shock culturally and financially but you are up to the challenge- :thumbup: I’m not personally sure, if there was that much snow on the ground for my first visit to the shops, that I might not have voted with my feet and gone back home...bruh that’s chilly...

Shakyuk Aug 4th 2020 3:40 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl (Post 12890392)
Wow...what a great update, fabulous photos too. Eddie looks gorgeous...as does your girlfriend and you are not too bad either. ;)

thank you for taking the time and trouble to update us. All the very best for the future.

Ha thank you, Eddie is a good looking boy!


Originally Posted by Hurlabrick (Post 12890489)
Congratulations on your perseverance, looks like it paid off! I am sure your story will be very helpful to others who are looking to follow.

That is my hope, a cautionary but optimistic story. It's a big move and easy to underestimate!


Originally Posted by MillieF (Post 12891139)
What a lovely family you are...well done in going forward and not giving in. It’s a huge shock culturally and financially but you are up to the challenge- :thumbup: I’m not personally sure, if there was that much snow on the ground for my first visit to the shops, that I might not have voted with my feet and gone back home...bruh that’s chilly...

We felt it was a novelty and pretty funny being the only ones walking to the shops in -20s or below and snow storms. We didn't have much choice though as we didn't get a car until I landed a job which was 6 months later! We still don't mind those walks though and now I have a dog that absolutely loves those temperatures I have no choice, he'll ask to go out when it's -15 and he'll run around or just go lie down in the snow :rofl:

Noncommittal Aug 4th 2020 6:11 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Can I ask why specifically APEGA doesn't recognize your qualifications? I am an Engineer that managed to get my P.Eng in Nova Scotia originally, but having since moved, am now a member of Manitoba's APGEM and also recently with APEGA (as our Alberta office needed someone with sealing authority whilst the usual person is on maternity leave).

I also had problems with getting my qualifications recognized as I did my degree part time. It didn't help that I had managed to lose my 2nd year of transcripts! In the end I managed to get the UK Engineering Council to write a letter to confirm that my degree was recognized under the Washington Accord and that did the trick. I do sympathize with you as there was a lot of back and forth before my qualifications where accepted.

Shakyuk Aug 6th 2020 2:31 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 

Originally Posted by Noncommittal (Post 12892409)
Can I ask why specifically APEGA doesn't recognize your qualifications? I am an Engineer that managed to get my P.Eng in Nova Scotia originally, but having since moved, am now a member of Manitoba's APGEM and also recently with APEGA (as our Alberta office needed someone with sealing authority whilst the usual person is on maternity leave).

I also had problems with getting my qualifications recognized as I did my degree part time. It didn't help that I had managed to lose my 2nd year of transcripts! In the end I managed to get the UK Engineering Council to write a letter to confirm that my degree was recognized under the Washington Accord and that did the trick. I do sympathize with you as there was a lot of back and forth before my qualifications where accepted.

Hi noncommittal, I applied for membership through the regular APEGA route; having WES do the indepth review of my qualifications and write what my experience was with references for 11 years of engineering experience. The response was that they had done their review and they recognised all of my experience but non of my qualifications. How I gained engineering experience whilst being entirely unqualified I don't know... But they said I can appeal, but unless I can provide additional evidence that would sway them, then the decision would remain. I had submitted what I felt was a strong submission first time around and so I had nothing else left to provide. I think it is because I do have a National Diploma in Mechanical & Manufacturing, but my BSc is more engineering design orientated, my masters is nuclear engineering and all of my experience was special purpose machinery design for use in nuclear environments. I think everything being nuclear based which doesn't exist here didn't help, my boss had a similar thing when trying to transfer from BC to AB.

I am very interested in the UK Engineering Council letter though, who did you contact about this? I am still registered as a Chartered Engineer in the UK and so I'd assume they should do the same for me. If this works and you're ever around Calgary, prepared to be bought MANY beers!

Noncommittal Aug 7th 2020 4:35 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
2 Attachment(s)
It was a while ago and I did a search through my old email, but couldn't find how I originally contacted the UK Engineering Council. I did find the letter they put together for me though and it was from a woman called Katy Turff. I have attached a copy so you can have a look.


Shakyuk Aug 8th 2020 9:36 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 

Originally Posted by Noncommittal (Post 12893768)
It was a while ago and I did a search through my old email, but couldn't find how I originally contacted the UK Engineering Council. I did find the letter they put together for me though and it was from a woman called Katy Turff. I have attached a copy so you can have a look.

Thank you for supplying the letter, really appreciate it! I'll get in touch with the engineering council and see if I can get something similar. Fingers crossed!

ann m Aug 9th 2020 4:28 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Great update, so glad things have settled for you both. Wishing you many more years of success and happiness in sunny Alberta!

Paul_Shepherd Aug 20th 2020 4:47 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Great Canniversary post!! Im really glad it has all worked out in the end for you both....you persevered and you got your reward! Great stuff

Id just like to say, I know what you mean about it being tough at the start....it took me 9months to get a job when I first came here... (I live not far from Toronto) I told myself i would do a year and if I hadnt got a job by then Id head back to the UK.

I found qualifications and expereince doesn't count for much in Canada.....nepotism is mainly what drive the wheels of industry here.....that's just the way it is, you need to know someone, that is why the networking part is important, but that can be tough too at first. I agree with you that there are some people in some postions that make you wonder...I am a mechanical designer/drafter and I agree with you, some of the drawings I have seen are diabolical!

Anyway I hope things continue to go well for you....great pictures by the way! It isn't hard to fall in love with the outdoor life here is it?!

Cheers,

Paul.

Shakyuk Sep 28th 2020 6:48 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 

Originally Posted by Paul_Shepherd (Post 12899549)
Great Canniversary post!! Im really glad it has all worked out in the end for you both....you persevered and you got your reward! Great stuff

Id just like to say, I know what you mean about it being tough at the start....it took me 9months to get a job when I first came here... (I live not far from Toronto) I told myself i would do a year and if I hadnt got a job by then Id head back to the UK.

I found qualifications and expereince doesn't count for much in Canada.....nepotism is mainly what drive the wheels of industry here.....that's just the way it is, you need to know someone, that is why the networking part is important, but that can be tough too at first. I agree with you that there are some people in some postions that make you wonder...I am a mechanical designer/drafter and I agree with you, some of the drawings I have seen are diabolical!

Anyway I hope things continue to go well for you....great pictures by the way! It isn't hard to fall in love with the outdoor life here is it?!
Cheers,

Paul.

Hi Paul,

After 4 or so months we were talking about moving province or maybe going back to the UK because of the issues you listed. Knowing someone is the difficult part when you're new to a country and it matters so much here. The lack of recognition for qualifications is something I find very frustrating having spent years getting qualifications to be told to go learn the same things I already know just so the piece of paper says Canada on top. I hope things are going well for you with everything crazy that is going on in the world.

I agree; it's easy to fall in love with the outdoors here, the space and wildlife is awesome!

Take care,

Rick

Siouxie Dec 6th 2020 3:35 am

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl (Post 12890392)
Wow...what a great update, fabulous photos too. Eddie looks gorgeous...as does your girlfriend and you are not too bad either. ;)

thank you for taking the time and trouble to update us. All the very best for the future.

:goodpost:+1!
Happy Canniversary! :thumbup:

Shard Jan 2nd 2021 4:41 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Late to the party, but great update and photos :thumbup:

jordanleanne Jan 3rd 2021 7:22 pm

Re: 2.5 years around Calgary
 
Thanks, it's great to hear of your experiences. We're aiming for Calgary ourselves, just received our ITA, so just going through the application paperwork now. It's good to still look at the 'fun' part of applying/moving :)


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