An immigrant success story: Erkan Ucargonul
Canada’s immigrants often choose to move here for a multitude of reasons. Erkan Ucargonul had just one single reason – his daughter. To truly appreciate Erkan’s decision, we need to take a trip back in time and halfway across the globe to Turkey.
Erkan had a career in Turkey that most would envy. After obtaining a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering, he worked as a Project Manager at construction sites in both Turkey and in Russia. Right before he immigrated to Canada, he was the Branch Manager at one of Turkey’s largest companies. It was the cherry on top of the cake that was his illustrious, 20-year long career.
Yet, he was more than willing to sacrifice all of this, and move to Canada, so that his daughter could have a better future. “From a career point of view, I had everything, but my daughter would face problems growing up in Turkey. So we chose to move. Canada would give more opportunities to her,” says Erkan.
While the move was intended to give his daughter a better life, it wasn’t so easy for Erkan to settle into the country himself. The strength of his career back home surprisingly seemed to be working against him. He was overqualified for almost every job opening. He was sure that his managerial experience would strengthen his chances of finding a job in Canada, but instead it was hurting his applications to companies.
Erkan had applied to jobs for 18 arduous months with little to no response. He even enrolled in a short term engineering program but to no avail. That’s when he heard of Humber’s Engineering Software Skills Enhancement (ESSE) bridging program. He believed in what the program had to offer, so he made sure to enroll.
“This was quite a turning point in my life. Only after starting this program did I finally start to receive interview calls. For 18 months I got no response, but after enrolling I quickly secured 3 job interviews. The third interview call was from where I am working right now,” says Erkan.
“Only after starting this (bridging) program did I finally start to receive interview calls. For 18 months I got no response, but after enrolling I quickly secured 3 job interviews.” – Erkan Ucargonul
He puts it down to the techniques he learned during the program. After the LinkedIn tutorials in class, he created a robust LinkedIn profile which resulted in him being spotted online. This translated into the third interview call he received and eventually he was offered a job as an Accounts Receivable Manager at Roni Excavating, his current workplace.
He also believes that the program at Humber College helped because it added a Canadian credential to his name. “Humber gave me a Canadian education. Employers want Canadian experience that I didn’t have, but they are familiar with the name of the college.”
Erkan is both relieved and delighted to have this job. It has also changed his experiences with the country as a whole. “Life changes after getting a job, now I am truly happy to be here,” he says.
When asked about what advice he would pass on to his fellow newcomers, he says, “Don’t get frustrated. It’s difficult but everybody finds a job eventually. It’s just a matter of time so be patient. The actual techniques to find a job you can learn at Humber College.” He went on to explain that he understands the frustration, however. He moved for his family so he knew he had to take care of them. He had to pay the bills. Patience was the key factor. Some methods worked for him but some did not. He summed this up in his own quirky metaphor: “Job search is like fishing. If one method doesn’t work, try another and be patient. Do that and eventually you are going to catch the fish.”
The Engineering Software Skills Enhancement bridging program is made available through funding from the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada. For more information, visit http://newtocanada.humber.ca/bridging-programs/engineering-software-skills.html.
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