Provincial engineer technology group putting in the effort to get refugees back to work

An Alberta-based science and engineering technology organization is doing what it can to make it easier for refugees to get work in that field.

With two new initiatives to help expedite the process, the hope is to get new Albertans into the workforce in a fraction of the time.

Mila Wagner has been living in Canada since 2016 and came here with multiple engineering degrees she earned in Ukraine. However, due to the standardized process of working as an engineer, she’s only been doing it for the past two years.

MULTIPLE ENGINEERING DEGREES

Mila Wagner has been living in Canada since 2016 and came here with multiple engineering degrees she earned in Ukraine.

However, due to the standardized process of working as an engineer technologist in training, she’s only been doing it for the past two years.                                                                                                 

“Even though I had the engineer-related degree, I had to come back to school and get my engineer diploma program here at Lethbridge College,” said Wagner.

Wagner moved here with her son following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2016.

After arriving, it ended up taking four years for her to get working in her field between the college course and standardized courses she had to take.

During that time, she had to take a job as a cleaner, all while taking care of her child.

“It was quite difficult and challenging to start all over again in a new country and especially I had my three-year-old son holding my hand,” she told CTV News.

With two new initiatives to help expedite the process, the hope is to get new Albertans into the workforce in a fraction of the time.

Wagner now works at MPE Engineering in Lethbridge and is a member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology professionals of Alberta, or ASET.

To help incoming refugees from Ukraine and across the world, ASET is helping expedite their competency based assessment program as well as waiving their application fees.                                                                                            

“In terms of giving access to our program and making it as objective as possible, we can guarantee that people are going to get an opportunity to find work in their field in this province,” said Barry Cavanaugh, ASET’s CEO.

Through the program, applicants can get back to work in as little as a quarter of the time it would’ve taken while maintaining industry standards.                                                              

“There’s no waiver of our standards, our standards remain high,” Cavanaugh said.

“But these are applicants who are quite capable of meeting them if we’re able to assess them fairly.”

Wagner says the effort that ASET is putting in to get newly arrived refugees back to work is beyond anything she’s seen or heard.

“It is just amazing what ASET is doing right now for the people that are starting a new life here and they want to join the Alberta workforce in engineering-related fields for sure,” Wagner said.

For more information on the work ASET is doing, you can visit their website.

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