Sep 25

My struggle with “Canadian Experience”

This personal account delves into the challenges of gaining Canadian work experience in architecture. It highlights the journey of overcoming obstacles and offers insights into the Canadian architectural industry for newcomers.

I immigrated from Dubai to Canada in early 2010. Having had extensive architectural experience in designing commercial buildings and hi end luxury palaces, I believed that finding a job in my field would not be difficult. Particularly since I was strong technically in applications like CAD, 3DsMAX, Photoshop, Revit and the like, I was sure I would be viewed as an asset and be hired immediately.

843 is the number of times I sent out my resume and/or applied on line to the multitude of positions that I felt I was qualified for in country. The response? Well, mostly no response at all.  When I did receive a response it was a standardized form letter informing me that my qualifications did not match what they were looking for.

Failing to give up, even though I was so disheartened, I researched what skills I should learn in order to get an employer’s attention. Everything I found pointed me in the direction of the Ontario Building Code. I immediately registered for 2 Part 9 courses.

Then I finally got my first interview! Excited yet incredibly nervous, I felt overall that I had done well. One week after the interview I got an email saying that I lacked the “Canadian Experience”! At first, I didn’t understand what that meant. Code? By-law? CAD? It was never made clear to me – what specific Canadian experience I lacked. Four other interviews followed – all of them ending the same way: “You lack Canadian Experience”.

I was frustrated. How could I possibly get “Canadian Experience” if I’ve never worked in Canada because no one is prepared to hire me so I could get that “Canadian Experience”?

How can I start or build my career without anyone trusting me or seeing potential in those skills that had developed over seas?

Nine months later, I finally received an offer from a Canadian Architect asking if I would be interested in taking on rendering and CAD services as a free-lancer. Needless to say, I accepted. Eighteen months later he saw my potential and hired me full time.

I look back and wonder if there was a course/workshop at that time that would have not only clarified what  “Canadian Experience” translated to but also taught me how I could get it, I would have not wasted over two years restarting my career.

This is why SIMPLY EXPERIENCE was created.

A simple 3 month, 2 days a week, 4 hours a day course which will simulate what you will learn while working in an architectural office.

Some of the subjects that will be taught are:

1. Designing 1 Real new house project (Part 9) from Contract initial till substation completion

2. Designing 1 Real house addition project (Part 9) from Contract initial till substation completion

3. Designing 1 Real building project (Part 3) from A to Z (the most important issues only)

4. Each project will go through The following phases: programming, Zoning, Building Code, Building Permit, Inspection, Administration.

5. The following sciences will be explained: Building Science, Building envelope, Fire protection

6. How to apply to committee of adjustment

7. How to apply for Building Permit

8. How to get your degree qualified CACB

9. How to enroll will the OAA and become an Intern Architect.

10. What you need to become a licensed Architect

11. Possible Job Placement as Volunteer or Probation (could be entry level) *

12. Obtain a certificate for course and experience completion*

*The last 2 items are a natural result of a student who is following the workshop curriculum religiously, and undoubtedly earned them.

All above items are taught according to the Canadian practice standards – just like in any architectural practice in Canada.

Stop wasting time applying for jobs using the wrong resume. Learn the Architectural Canadian Experience from the right people and let employers contact you for job opportunities!

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