Many immigrants arrive in this country with a good education and a valuable set of skills. Unfortunately, some employers dismiss their talents by requiring “Canadian experience.”

For newcomers who already possess a technology-related diploma or degree from another country, Centennial College has a way to upgrade their skills and knowledge to help them find, or resume, a career.

The Fast Track to Technology Occupations (FTTO) program is designed to help foreign-trained professionals meet the expectations of employers by giving them the occupational skills, language and context to succeed in the Canadian workplace.

Centennial’s School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS) has developed a fast-track model that allows students to earn a three-year advanced diploma in less time — and includes a co-op job with a Canadian company.

“The reason we have engineers driving cabs is that they don’t know how to meet the gap that exists between their education back home and the expectations of Canadian employers,” says Jag Mohan, dean of SETAS and a former immigrant from India. “... What they need now are the skills and applied knowledge we teach at college.”

Candidates are first invited to enrol in the Bridge-to-Work program that provides English upgrading, technical upskilling and Canadian workplace preparation. The seven-week program is tuition-free, thanks to funding by the Ontario government.

Students can then enter the second year of any of a number of engineering technology programs at Centennial, including architectural technology, biotechnology, computer systems and more.

The programs offer paid work placements, providing income to support students, as well as invaluable work experience. Students also gain access to a professional mentor in their field who can provide advice and guidance.

For details, e-mail or visit Phone 416-289-5000, ext. 8227, to learn about the free information sessions.

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