“I wish we could hire them all!”

The room was buzzing with sector-specific, focused conversation and the energy and enthusiasm was electric at the Matrix Hotel in downtown Edmonton last Thursday afternoon!

Yes, it was a record-setting day for ERIEC last week as we hosted the largest Speed Career Networking event in ERIEC’s history.  It was a “by invitation only” event with 24 internationally trained engineering professionals (mentees) from Bredin Institute and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers who met and exchanged information at lightning speed with 29 local engineering and human resources professionals (mentors) from 13 employers from the greater Edmonton area!

Guillermo Barreiro, Manager, Internationally Educated Graduates Integration and Liaison at APEGA, kicked off the event by inspiring everyone with his own story of coming to Canada from Colombia as an Engineer and the lessons he learned along the way.

Guillermo Barreiro, Manager, Internationally Educated Graduates Integration and Liaison at APEGA, kicked off the event.

Then, after some quick instructions, the speed networking began.  Thirteen minutes flies by when it’s all the time mentors and mentees have to introduce themselves to each other and discuss crucial information related to the mentee’s career development and search for meaningful employment in the field of engineering.  When the bell rings signalling it’s time to move to the next conversation, there’s barely enough time for participants to catch their breath.  It’s for that reason that after three-speed networking conversations that everyone needs a short break for a coffee or a glass of water before engaging in three more conversations.  It all wraps up with 30 minutes of free networking time, where mentors and mentees can connect with anyone in the room they want.

When asked for real-time feedback, mentees responded without hesitation that they felt “renewed”, “motivated” and “encouraged” about their job search by the feedback they received from the mentors they spoke to.  Mentors made comments like “I wish we could hire them all!”, “This event shows us there is a strong, capable pool of candidates we might not consider or have access to!”, “I am now more aware of the development offered to new immigrants that prepares them for our workplace”, and “This illuminates how our hiring processes perhaps don’t work well at exploiting the available talent”.

Although it is made clear to mentors and mentees that this is not a job fair or recruitment event, one mentee was scheduled for an interview on the spot and several mentors indicated they were taking resumes back to the office for consideration.

What an event! Intense excitement, robust conversation, enhanced profession-specific career development, and increased awareness of the exceptional engineering talent just waiting to be used by Edmonton’s marketplace

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