Originally from Venezuela, he and his family had watched political upheaval in their home country get worse and worse. Life was becoming increasingly dangerous. With heavy hearts, they made the decision to leave for Canada, landing in Calgary in 2016. Nelfran knew he would have difficulty finding a job in his field without a recognized credential. He had heard about a Power Engineer program but wasn’t eligible since he did not have Permanent Resident status yet. He also considered pursuing his P.Eng designation, but he didn’t have money for the exams and was worried about the time it would take.
In addition to lacking a recognized credential, Nelfran discovered that his English was not strong enough for the Canadian job market. He also recognized cultural differences, particularly around communication, and this lack of knowledge about Canadian communication and workplace norms hurt his self-esteem.
Despite these barriers, he managed to land a job with a facility company doing basic maintenance, as well as a construction cleaning company. He was grateful for the income, but neither job involved his specialty of planning and programming maintenance for mechanical equipment. Nelfran was determined to re-enter his field and start rebuilding his career in Canada.
A few months later, he applied to a Power Engineer Building Operator Training Program through the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) and was accepted. There was one problem, however: tuition was $16,500. Nelfran didn’t have that kind of money, but after some web research he learned about Windmill Microlending.
Nelfran was eligible for a Windmill loan. A loan facilitator guided him through the application process, including the development of a learning plan, and within a week he had received a loan for $10,000. He was able to cover the remaining tuition and started his program in September of 2017.
In addition to helping him upgrade his technical skills, the program helped him improve his English, learn about the Canadian workplace, and ultimately helped him rebuild his self-confidence. Even better, through his program he was embedded for one day per week at Morguard, a large building operator in Calgary. He learned first-hand the responsibilities of a building operator and gained familiarity with the Canadian workplace. He successfully wrote his 5th class power engineering exam and, following a three week full-time internship with Morguard, they offered him a full time permanent job. He was elated.
“Without your help, I would not be working in my job today. I know there are many good things still coming. I will keep working hard and hope to give back to others in order to help them reach their dreams and be successful too.”