APEGA Supports Internationally Educated Engineers

Internationally Educated Graduates (IEGs) in Engineering make up the largest percentage of mentees in our Career Mentorship Program. We were happy to hear that APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta) created the first position of its kind in Canada to support these skilled immigrants to become registered in Alberta.  ERIEC interviewed Guillermo Barreiro, who works closely with IEGs at APEGA.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am a Colombian Electrical Engineer who immigrated to Canada in 2001. I went to U of A to get my MSc in Computer Engineer and have worked as a Software Engineer since. I joined APEGA last summer.

What is APEGA and what do you do there?

APEGA is the provincial body in charge of regulating the practice of Engineering and Geoscience. I work as the Manager, Internationally Educated Graduates Integration and Liaisons. My job involves, mainly, assisting engineers and geoscientists who got their education outside of Canada, to navigate through the registration process.

Why is it important to have a position like this one at APEGA?

Currently, 30% of yearly applications for registration with APEGA come from engineers and geoscientists educated outside of Canada. Because their background and experience is so different, they are the ones with the most questions and the ones who need more assistance through the registration process. APEGA saw fit to have a person specialized in helping them in order to make their registration experience more comfortable and, also, in order to have applications filled out with relevant information. This last point is meant to expedite the assessment process of these applications.

What kind of support do you provide to internationally educated engineers?

My job encompasses three main areas:

  • Connecting with applicants to go over the registration process. I do this via personal meetings, phone calls, social media and email. Pretty much any way you can get a hold of me.
  • Assisting applicants to complete the registration forms so they reflect the information that is relevant to the APEGA registration process
  • Deliver presentations about the registration process to organizations or companies who deal with internationally educated graduates.

What are some of the challenges that IEGs face as they seek meaningful work as engineers in Alberta?

I believe it would be convincing potential employers the tasks they performed in their jobs in their country of origin are equivalent to those performed here in Canada.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of hiring an IEG?

Internationally educated graduates are, in general, very knowledgeable, driven and hard-working individuals. They immigrated to become better at what they do. Canadian employers benefit from hiring them in that they get all of that knowledge, drive and work-output without having to continuously keep them motivated.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I would like to invite all Internationally Educated Engineers and Geoscientists who have questions about the registration process at APEGA to contact me, even if you have already started the process. I will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Thank you Guillermo for your support of ERIEC, skilled immigrants, and your willingness to be featured on our blog! Keep up the great work!

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