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COVID-19 FAQ: Impacts on Canadian construction and engineering

As the COVID-19 health crisis continues to transform life across Canada, the construction sector across the country is feeling the impact of a global recession continued with public mandates for social distancing. The Outpost community has been reaching out to ask how COVID-19 is impacting recruitment in the Canadian construction and engineering industries. These are our answers to the most commonly asked questions.

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Are employers in the engineering and construction sectors hiring right now?

Hiring has resumed but many clients are taking a cautious approach due a prevailing sense of uncertainty. With a high number of firms laying off workers across industrial (Oil & Gas), there are quite a few free agents in the market. Most of our clients are preoccupied with procedures to bring their workers back into the office while  adapting to the new normal of stringent health and safety measures, including social distancing.

Given different provinces and specific projects have different restrictions in place, it’s ideal to research the relevant province and project.

We’re always keen to hear from motivated job seekers so feel free to create a profile and we can arrange a chat around your employment preferences. Our consultative approach is focused on working with strong motivated candidates and working towards finding them the right opportunity in the market. We have strong client relationships which allow us open channels of communication. Timing is everything in recruitment and we can monitor the market on your behalf.

How long will it be before employers start hiring as usual again?

Hard to say. There will always be exceptions with critical roles in the coming months but we’re certainly looking at a tighter employment market across all parts of Canada. It’s likely we will observe extremely competitive employment markets for the next year or so as the economy contracts. Prior to Covid, the construction market was facing a huge shortage of workers so there has been a dramatic swing bringing us to an employer’s market once again.

As we adapt to a calming of the health crisis, we wait to see further signs of strain in financial markets. The economic shock will impact all sectors of construction, but we expect commercial, industrial, and residential to be hardest hit. Public projects across institutional buildings and infrastructure will also be impacted, but investment in Canada’s infrastructure sector is long overdue and there is hope that Canada will maintain commitments to public infrastructure. We expect some major infrastructure projects to be postponed or cancelled as the Canadian government will likely try to balance their books after lots of welfare spending to counter higher unemployment levels.

While there will be exceptions, we expect all construction companies to start hiring again in coming months as they find their feet in the new normal.

I’m an unemployed jobseeker here in Canada right now, what advice can you offer?

As Canada adapts to a huge economic shock, finding employment will become difficult relative to the pre-Covid era. In construction, most clients are comfortable with their current pipeline but there remains some uncertainty as they look towards the future. Reduced budgets and falling construction costs may lead to clients delaying final decisions. Many companies will resist the temptation to hire in times of prolonged uncertainty. 

If you are a newcomer to Canada, we urge you to ensure that you have adequate emergency medical insurance (via public health plan or private means) to cover Covid-19-related risks.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance in Canada, we urge you to register.

In terms of being proactive, we urge you to use our free resume templates and comprehensive Outpost blogs to help you return to the employment market as soon as possible. With high levels of unemployment expected in the post Covid-19 era, it’s critical that every candidate can up their game and present their work experience in the best possible manner. Investing time in your CV/resume will be the best time investment you can make as

My employment is uncertain / has been terminated. What action can I take?

We recommend you contact Service Canada and follow the relevant provincial guidelines to understand your employment rights. We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) if or when you receive negative news.

We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) so you can have your next steps planned if you do receive negative news.

I’m due to fly to Canada before the end of 2020 to activate my status in Canada. What should I do?

If you decide it is necessary to travel to Canada, your ability to enter the country depends on your immigration status. Canada has closed all international borders, including the Canada-U.S. border, to all foreign nationals unless you meet one of a handful of exceptions. For foreign workers, the most common exceptions are as follows: 

Work permit holders: Canada is allowing temporary workers who have already been issued a work permit or approved for a work permit to enter the country. The exception to this rule is IEC participants, who are only able to enter if they have already activated their work permit and had left Canada temporarily, or have already been approved for a work permit and have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer.

Canadian permanent residents: Canadian permanent residents are eligible to enter the country at this time. 

Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR-holders): If you were approved for Canadian permanent resident status prior to March 18, 2020, you are able to travel to Canada to activate your status. If you were approved after this date, you will have to wait for restrictions to be lifted. US residents who hold valid COPRs are also eligible to enter Canada at this time.

Please refer to this page for a list of other exemptions to travel restrictions.

Regardless of your status in Canada, if you travel to the country from any foreign country you will be subject to additional screening measures at the Port of Entry and you will be mandated to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If you do not have a plan for your 14 day self-isolation, you may be denied entry.

Please note that immigration regulations are changing rapidly during the coronavirus outbreak in Canada. For up-to-date travel advice and information on how it may be possible to extend the validity period of your travel documents, please visit the COVID-19 and travel to Canada page on our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, and read the relevant instructions for the program you have been approved under. 

My immigration or work permit application is in progress, how long will it take to receive final approval? 

Canada’s immigration authorities have told applicants to expect delays in processing in the coming months. Applications are still being accepted and processed for most programs, but delays are likely. Please refer to this Government of Canada page for the latest information.

I was meant to start a new job in the coming months, will I still be able to start as planned?

You should contact your employer or recruiter directly if they haven’t already contacted you. It would be good to understand how the employer is handling the current circumstances and the likelihood that you will start your new job. Many staff at the companies undertook a period of remote work during the early months of the pandemic, but much of the construction workforce has returned to work on site. 

I recently moved to Canada, should I consider returning home until things can return to normal?

This is an important consideration, but is a decision that only you can make. However, now that we are many months into the health crisis, with no immediate end in sight, you likely have some understanding of what life will be like in Canada in the immediate future. Provided that you have been able to secure adequate housing, employment, and the other requisite comforts and supports to sustain yourself, Canada may be the place to stay.

How will I know when Outpost Recruitment has new employment opportunities again?

We will be sure to send notifications such as newsletters with job opportunities, once available. Make sure you create a profile with us so we can keep you updated.  We are excited to hopefully bring you good news down the line.

Where can I find more information about how COVID-19 may affect my move to Canada?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, has already helped thousands of people in Canada and around the world get to grips with this evolving situation. Moving2Canada offers:

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Rail construction and railway jobs in Canada

Canada is committed to increased infrastructure spending to boost a post-Covid economy in Canada. With aging infrastructure and strong population growth in urban areas across the country, we take a deeper look at rail construction and the proliferation of railway jobs in Canada.

Below is a snapshot of active rail construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the infrastructure sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

Projects in Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Procurement Stage

View of Toronto's skyline from a railway yard
Toronto’s popular GO Transit system is set to undergo several major expansions in the coming years with billions of dollars flowing into its infrastructure development.

Ontario Subway Line, Toronto – P3 DBFM – >$10bn

The Ontario Line is a 15.5-kilometre stand-alone rapid transit line that will connect the Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition/Ontario Place. Over half of the route is planned to run underground through new tunnels, with the remainder running along elevated and at-grade rail corridor sections of track. Fifteen stations are proposed, with numerous connections to the broader transit network, including GO Transit rail services, the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway Lines 1 and 2, the future Line 5 (Eglinton Crosstown LRT), as well as numerous bus and streetcar routes.

The Ontario Line is being delivered as three separate public-private partnership (P3) procurement contracts set to deliver many railway jobs in Canada:

  • Ontario Line – Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) — DBF — RFQ issued Jun 2020
  • Ontario Line – Rolling Stock, Systems, O & M ($2bn) — DBFOM — RFQ issued Jun 2020
  • Ontario Line – North Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) – RFQ due in Spring 2022

Eglinton West LRT, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The proposed Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will bring even more rapid transit to Etobicoke and Mississauga to make it easier for people to get where they need to be each day.

The proposed extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will run 9.2 kilometres from the future Mount Dennis LRT station to Renforth Drive and will operate mainly underground, helping to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other destinations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Status: Advanced tunnelling RFP issued on Aug 4th, 2020. Financial close in Spring 2021.

Scarborough Subway (Line 2 East Extension), Toronto GTA – TBD – >$4bn 

A new three-stop 7.8-kilometre Scarborough Subway Extension.

Status: Advanced tunnelling RFP ($1bn) issued on Aug 4th, 2020. Financial close in Spring 2021. RFQ for main works expected in Winter 2020 / Spring 2021

Scarborough subway extension plans

Yonge Street North (Line 1 Extension) Subway, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The planned Yonge North Subway Extension will extend 7.4 kilometres north from Finch Station to Highway 7. This critical rapid transit link will include up to 6 stations.

Status: RFQ due in Summer / Fall 2021.

GO Rail Expansion – GO Regional Express Rail (RER), Toronto – Various – $12bn+

The GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives, and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

The GO Rail Expansion is made up of 3 packages:

  • Package 1 — Enabling works — 14 separate projects underway
  • Package 2 — Stations and off-corridor
  • Package 3 — On-Corridor (tracks, civil works, electrification, rolling stock) RFP ($10bn) issued. Currently delayed.

GO Expansion: On Corridor –  $10bn DBOM

GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

Status: Financial close 2022

GO Rail Expansion – Union Station Enhancement – $500m Alliance Model

Construction of new platforms, two new tracks, a new concourse area and storm water management system, and other building systems. The Union Station Upgrade is being procured under the Alliance model.

Status: RFP issued in Feb 2020. Project will be awarded before end of 2020.

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – Central Corridor –  $500m BF

Two grade separations — Scarborough Golf Club Road and Morningside Avenue. Includes track and grading work from Galloway Road to Beechgrove Drive (approximately 3.4 km) and all supporting infrastructure, including retaining walls along the central segment of the Lakeshore East corridor

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Summer 2021.

GO Expansion: Milton Corridor Upgrades –  $200m DBF

Includes Milton GO Station upgrades to the station building and Station Operations West Facility.

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Spring 2021

GO Expansion: Lakeshore West Corridor –  $1bn DBB

Infrastructure improvements for Exhibition Station, Mimico Station, Long Branch Station, Clarkson Station, Kerr Street, Bronte Station, Burloak Drive, Drury Lane and the Lewis Road Layover Facility-Phase II expansion.

Status: Financial close Spring 2021

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – West Corridor –  $500m BF

The infrastructure upgrades are required to help accommodate the planned expansion of GO Transit rail service on the Lakeshore East line.

Status: RFP issued in April 2018.

Surrey Langley LRT, Vancouver – TBD – $2bn+

This will be a 16-km-long Surrey Langley rail rapid transit project. The SkyTrain will travel on an elevated guideway along Fraser Highway. It will provide a seamless, eastward extension of the existing Expo Line. King George Station will connect to Langley Centre through Fleetwood and Cloverdale/Clayton.

The proposed project includes 8 stations, 3 bus exchanges, park and ride spaces, 55 SkyTrain vehicles, and an operations and maintenance centre. The project is expected to bring many railway jobs to the Vancouver area.

Status: Pre-procurement.

Green Line LRT, Calgary – DBF – $4.9bn.

The Green Line is a light rail transit (LRT) megaproject planned to run between north-central and southeastern Calgary. When completed, the Green Line will comprise 29 stations spanning 46 kilometres. Stage 1 of construction will feature 15 stations (9 at-grade, 4 underground, 2 elevated) and has been funded and approved by Calgary City Council. Construction of Stage 1 is anticipated to start in 2021 and will complete in 2027. The scope and funding of future extensions to the north and southeast have not yet been determined.

Status: Stage 1 RFP issued on July 24, 2020.

ValleyLine LRT Phase 2, Edmonton – $1.9bn P3

14-kilometres of new LRT with 16 stops (14 street level, 2 elevated) over its length between Downtown and Lewis Farms.

Status: RFP closes in October, 2020, with preferred bidder announced in mid-November 2020.

Structuring Public Transit Network, Quebec – Tramway Component – $3.3bn

The 22-kilometre tramway will connect Charlesbourg North to Sainte-Foy West, including 35 stations, three intermodal hubs, two terminus stations, a 2.6-kilometre tunnel, and two maintenance and storage facilities. The project will include a 30-year maintenance period.

Status: RFP issued in Sept 2020.

Projects in Construction Phase

Namur Metro transit line in Montreal
Montreal’s metro system, pictured here, is undergoing a major $4-billion expansion of its Blue Line. This is one of many major Canadian rail projects already in the construction phase.

Eglinton Crosstown, Toronto – $5.3bn P3

The Eglinton Crosstown is a light rail transit line that will run along Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy station. This 19-kilometre corridor will include a 10-kilometre underground portion, between Keele Street and Laird Drive. The Crosstown will have up to 25 stations and stops. It will link to 54 bus routes, 3 subway stations and various GO Transit lines.

Status: Completion in 2021.

Hurontario LRT, Toronto – $4.6bn

18 kilometres of new dedicated rapid transit between the Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga and the Gateway Terminal at Steeles Avenue in Brampton. Includes 19 stops with connections to GO Transit’s Milton and Lakeshore West rail lines and a maintenance and storage facility for the light rail vehicles located south of Highway 407 and west of Kennedy Road.

Status: Completion by Fall 2024.

FinchWest LRT, Toronto – $2.5bn P3

This DBFM P3 light rail project will bring an additional 11 kilometres and 18 stops of public transit, as well as renew aging infrastructure, such as the Highway 400 overpass at Finch Ave W.
Status: Completion in 2022.

Trillium, Ottawa – $1.6bn P3

As part of the city’s Stage 2 LRT project, the Trillium Line PPP project will deliver 16km of new rail, 8 new stations, 1 major maintenance and storage facility for trains (trains depot) with capacity to up to 11 trains, and 10 new bridges.

Status: Major delays due to Covid. Completion by Aug 2022.

Ottawa LRT Phase II (Confederation Line West), Ottawa – $4.8bn P3

The second stage of Ottawa’s light rail project has grown from 30 kilometres of track to 44 kilometres, and from 19 stations to 24, extending the public transit system deeper into the suburbs of Orléans and Riverside South.

Status: Completion by 2024.

Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) LRT, Montreal – $6.3bn P3

67kms of new track with 26 stations. Construction: 2018-2023 (ongoing).

Status: Completion by 2023.

Blue Line Extension – $4bn

5.8-kilometres of track and five new stations to the current 12-station Blue Line, one of four Metro lines that runs through the Greater Montreal Area.

Status: Completion by 2026.

Broadway Subway, Vancouver – $2.83bn

5.7 km extension of the existing Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus. Continuing from VCC-Clark Station on an elevated guideway for 700 metres, the extension will then travel underground along Broadway for 5km. The project includes 6 new underground stations, including an interim terminus station at Arbutus Street. 

Status: Recently awarded, construction due to start Fall 2020, completion by 2025.

Broadway Subway project outline

ValleyLine LRT Phase 1, Edmonton – $1.8bn

The 13-kilometer southeast leg of a new LRT in Edmonton.

Status: Currently behind schedule. Due for completion in Q3 2021.

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this content, check out other relevant blogs:

Canada is set to be a hotspot for rail infrastructure projects and railway jobs, with some mega rail projects underway and in the pipeline. Rail expertise is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities.

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Canada’s major healthcare and hospital construction projects

In order to recover from the economic impacts COVID-19, Canada is committed to heavy infrastructure spending. One of the main sectors set to benefit from this increased infrastructure spending is hospital construction. This article is your definitive guide to Canada’s ongoing and upcoming hospital construction projects. 

Below is a guide of active hospital construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the buildings sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

 

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver – DB – $1.9bn

The new hospital and health campus to be constructed at a new greenfield site will have capacity for up to 548 beds, which includes 115 net new beds. The site will be the home of several leading provincial programs and referral centres, including for heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders and specialty surgeries and transplants.

Status: RFP stage.  Project set to be awarded by Sept 2020. Due to open by 2026.

Lions Gate Hospital, Vancouver – $190m DB

Phase 3 of the Lions Gate Hospital Redevelopment Project. The scope of the project includes the design and construction of a new six-story acute care facility and minor renovations on Levels 0-2 in the adjacent Paul Myers South Tower and Northern Expansion buildings.

Status: RFP submitted in Q3. Award expected in Q1.

Burnaby Hospital, Vancouver – $205m DBF / $185m CM

The design and construction of a new 6-level Inpatient/Outpatient Tower, a new 5-level expansion to the south side of the existing Support Facilities Building, renovations to levels 2-4 of the Support Facilities Building, and levels 0 and 1 of the Nursing Tower, including select mechanical and electrical elements and demolition of the Cascade and West Wing Buildings.

The construction cost of the Project is estimated to be approximately $390 million. The DBF Scope construction value is anticipated to be approximately $205 million and the CM construction value approximately $185 million.

Status: RFP issued in June 2020. Contract award in May 2021.

Mills Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Terrace, BC – $500m DBF

Development of a new, approximately 26,440 square-metres (284,500 square-feet) acute care hospital and integrated services facility. The hospital will be a centre for trauma services, orthopedic surgeries, pathology, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services, as well as a training site for medical students in the Northern Medical Program.

Status: RFP issued in Feb 2020. 

Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment Phase 2&3, Greater Vancouver – $1.2bn DBF

Phase two will include a new 350-bed acute care tower on the north side of the hospital with multiple floors for acute and critical care patients, an Emergency Department with a satellite medical imaging unit, an interventional floor with operating rooms, interventional radiology and cardiology suites, recovery suites, an underground parkade, main entrance, and rooftop heliport. Phase two will also incorporate energy centre equipment, information management/information technology infrastructure, and demolition of some existing buildings.

Phase three will include expansion of support areas such as the laboratory, pharmacy, medical imaging, cafeteria, administration offices and ambulatory care. It will also include expansion of pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and conversion of some four-bed patient rooms into single or semi-private rooms.

Construction on phase two is expected to run 2020 to 2024, and phase three is expected to complete in 2026. The hospital will remain fully operational throughout construction.

Status: Client is currently negotiating with one vender.

Stuart Lake Hospital Redevelopment, Fort St. James, Northern BC – $116m DBF

Development of a new Stuart Lake Hospital to serve Fort St. James and the surrounding area. Design and construction of a new hospital with 9 in-patient acute beds, 18 long-term care beds, emergency care, medical imaging, laboratory, and supporting services and Primary Care Clinic. Includes the demolition of the existing hospital, construction of surface parking, landscaping, and redundant emergency access.

Status: RFQ issued in June 2020.

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Greater Toronto Area – P3

Scope involves constructing a new, larger hospital on the property behind the existing facility. 

Status: RFQ is expected to be released in early 2021.

Corner Brook Acute Care Hospital, Newfoundland P3 DBFM $700m

The new 7-storey, 600,000 square-foot hospital will be connected to the 145-bed long-term care facility that Plenary Health is currently building on the site. It will have 164 beds with the same services currently provided at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, as well as an expanded cancer care program, including radiation services.

Status: Started in late 2019. Due for completion in 2023.

Cariboo Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Williams Lake, BC $147m

Development of new clinical and support spaces that will be constructed in a new expansion and in renovated space on the existing Cariboo Memorial Hospital site. This includes the emergency department, medical/surgical inpatient units, maternal care and women’s health, mental health and substance use inpatient unit, pharmacy services and University of British Columbia faculty of medicine academic space.

Status: RFP to be issued in Q3 2020. Due for completion by 2025

Kingston General Hospital Development Phase II, Kingston, ON – $500 DBF

The redevelopment will see four buildings torn down and replaced with a tower of between 8 to 12 storeys, and within it will be operating rooms, a pharmacy, neonatal ICU, labs, a data centre and the emergency department.

Status: RFP due to be issued in Fall 2020.

Bowmanville Hospital Redevelopment, Clarington, ON – $<200m

Construction of a new hospital wing, which will replace the existing north wing, along with a new emergency department, surgical services, critical care unit, inpatient units and diagnostic imaging.

Status: RFP in Winter 2021.

Richmond Hospital – Acute Care Tower – TBD

The 9-storey project includes a new emergency department and intensive care unit, and a new medical imaging unit. It will add 110 new beds, bringing the total at the hospital to 350.

Status: RFQ expected in 2021.

Nova Scotia Hospital Centre QEII Redevelopment – $2bn P3 DBF

Two components: the Halifax Infirmary expansion and the Bayers Lake outpatient centre ($259m).

Status: RFP submission for infirmary expansion in Dec 2020. Bayers Lake contract awarded on Aug 21.

Dawson Creek Hospital Redevelopment – $344m

A new 70-bed hospital with a larger emergency room to replace their decades-old facility. The new hospital will be approximately 19,400 square metres (209,000 square feet) and will have 70 beds, an increase of 24, all of which will be in single rooms with ensuite washrooms. It will provide a range of surgical services as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.

Status: Pre procurement. Scheduled to open fall 2025.

Grandview Children’s Treatment Centre Redevelopment – $2bn P3 DBF

Construction of a new five-storey building in Ajax, Ontario.

Status: RFP issued in Sept 2020.

South Niagara Hospital – TBD

Construction of the 108,000 square metres hospital could begin in late 2022, with possible completion in 2026.

Status: Pre RFQ.

Projects in Construction Phase

Surgeon standing in the Vancouver General Hospital's Surgical Centre
The Vancouver General Hospital’s Surgical Centre is on track to get a major upgrade in the coming years. Photo credit: Province of British Columbia.

St. Michael’s Hospital Redevelopment, Toronto – $300m DBF

The project will include the construction of a new 17-storey patient care tower at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, and the renovation of approximately 150,000 square feet of existing space.

Status: Change of contractor so the original completion date has been extended.

Cortellucci (MacKenzie) Vaughan Hospital, Toronto – $1.2bn DBFM

The new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will include a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services and operating rooms, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds.

Status: Substantial completion achieved in Sept 2020.

Michael Garron Hospital – Phase 1 Patient Care Tower, Toronto – $411m DBFM

The project involves the construction of a new 8-storey patient care tower and 3-storey connection, as well as demolition of some existing space and renovations to the existing hospital. The project will add up to approximately 550,000 square feet to the existing hospital. The project also involves renovation works of approximately 100,000 square feet of select areas within the existing hospital.

Status: Completion by 2022.

Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto – $2.4bn DBFM

There are three phases to the project, which are expected to take a total of 10 years to complete:

A new 22-storey Patient Support Centre (ground was broken on this project in October 2019), the Peter Gilgan Family Patient Care Tower, and renovations to the existing campus.

Status: Patient Support Center due for completion by 2022. Remaining aspects due by 2030.

Calgary Cancer Centre, Calgary – $1.4bn DBFM

The new Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC) will be a world-class health-care facility and academic centre for the provision of cancer services in Southern Alberta. The CCC will be built at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) site on the current parking Lot 7. The facility will increase cancer care capacity in Southern Alberta by consolidating and expanding existing services in the Calgary Zone to support integrated and comprehensive cancer care, as well as clinical, academic and research needs. The CCC will support and deliver interdisciplinary and integrated care based on a philosophy that accommodates research, education, and patient- and family-focused care, and improves patient outcomes.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Grande Prairie Hospital, Grand Prairie, AB – $650m DBFM

This new 64,000-square-metre hospital is expected to provide 200 beds, a cancer care centre, and a nursing and medical careers-training facility from the Grande Prairie Regional College.

Status: Completion by 2020.

Quebec City University Hospital, Quebec, QB – $2bn

The first phase of the multi-phase project includes the construction of the Integrated Cancer Centre, along with a new generator building, power plant, and parking. As of September, Phase 1 had reached 60 percent completion. The Integrated Cancer Centre is currently on schedule to welcome its first patient in December 2020.

Status: Completion of all phases by 2025.

Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Montreal, QB – $3.6bn P3

This next phase consists of outpatient services, clinical and administrative offices, as well as an amphitheatre and parking lots. The new 772-room, 21-storey hospital is intended to consolidate the activities of the CHUM in one location.

Phase 1 delivered by OHL and Laing O’Rourke. Phase 2 performance was taken over by a local contractor.

Status: Ongoing.

Royal Inland Hospital – Patient Care Tower (PCT), Kamloops, BC – $417m

Construction will occur in two phases. The first involves design and construction of the tower, which will house 11 operating rooms, mental health and medical/surgical beds, a surgical suite, a perinatal centre with labour and delivery rooms, obstetrics and postpartum beds and a neonatal intensive-care unit. The second phase involves renovation and expansion of the emergency department, pediatric ward, post-anesthetic recovery ward and the morgue. More parking stalls will also be added to the main hospital structure. The plan is to enlarge the ER to the area where the main hospital elevators are located.

Status: The tower is expected to open in 2022, with the second-phase expansion expected in 2024.

Vancouver General Hospital – Surgical Centre / Upgrades, Vancouver, BC – $102.4m

Expansion of the surgical centre and upgrading a number of other areas in and around the hospital to help serve patients and families better. The project includes 16 new state-of-the-art operating rooms at the Jim Pattison Pavilion, a 40-bed hospital unit for care before and after surgery, new communication systems to manage activities for health professionals across two operating floors, upgraded infrastructure and additional storage and new administrative spaces.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Peach Arch Hospital Expansion – Emergency Department / Upgrades, Surrey, BC – $83.7m

Undergoing an emergency department expansion and upgrades to better serve the growing populations in White Rock and South Surrey. The project will be completed in two phases, featuring an expanded emergency department, five upgraded perioperative suites (operating rooms), and an expansion and renovation of the medical device reprocessing department. The expansion and upgrades are part of Fraser Health’s commitment across the region to modernize the health care network, build capacity and improve timely access to quality, patient-centred care closer to home.

Status: Ongoing.

St. John’s Mental Health and Addictions Facility, St John’s, NF – $330m

Six story, 102-bed hospital with 60-bed hostel to replace the Agnes Cowan Hostel, Parking garage for 1,000 vehicles, Modern features, like an art studio and a therapeutic mall terrace.

Status: Construction starts in Spring 2021 and completion by 2024.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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Outpost Recruitment welcomes the award of the $2.8bn Broadway Subway project

The winning consortium for Vancouver’s much-needed Broadway Subway project learned their fate this week.

The Broadway Subway Project is a 5.7 km extension of the Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station (Commercial Drive) to the Broadway & Arbutus intersection in Kitsilano. It will provide fast, frequent, and convenient SkyTrain service to B.C.’s second largest jobs centre, world-class health centres, emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities. Once in service, the trip from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along the busy Broadway corridor served by the B-Line bus. As part of the Broadway Subway Project, six new underground stations will be built to connect communities and neighbourhoods. Construction will begin in fall 2020, with the line in service in 2025.

The project budget is $2.83 billion, funded and delivered by the Government of B.C., with contributions from the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver. The Broadway Subway project is a key part of the rapid transit program in Metro Vancouver’s Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision. The Vision is funded by the governments of B.C. and Canada, TransLink, and local municipalities. As P3 project delivery has fallen from favour under the NDP government in BC, this project will be delivered as a design-build lump sum. 

It’s been a long wait for a major transportation project in Vancouver and now with the $1.4bn Pattullo Bridge project in construction phase, Vancouver will have two mega projects coinciding.

Vancouver-based Outpost Recruitment are uniquely placed to assist in hiring for this project. Alongside their sister website, Moving2Canada, Outpost have been tracking local and international talent since 2011. “With the Vancouver market already stretched by a steady real estate market and a booming municipal infrastructure market, our clients enjoy our extended reach in national and global infrastructure talent,” commented founder Ruairi Spillane noting that B.C. continues to face a major labour shortage. “Despite the impacts of Covid-19, we expect to be very busy over the next 5 years as infrastructure is truly a global market and we help clients expand their reach and innovate through people using the latest technology and construction methods.”

“Overall, we’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with delivery experience in major projects and specific exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Vancouver as a destination with Western Canada bouncing back quickly from the impacts of the pandemic and subsequent economic shock. We’re hopeful that limitations on international travel will be eased as BC continues to flatten the curve.

Outpost are urgently seeking candidates for the following roles across contracting and consulting. Recruitment for further key organization chart roles will commence quickly once positive news is received by our client.

Contractor roles:

  • Superintendent – Civil / Structural
  • Project Manager / Coordinators – Civil / Structural
  • Site / Field Engineer – Civil / Structural
  • Design Managers / Coordinators
  • Quality Coordinators, QA/QC Manager
  • Project Controls / Contracts Managers / Procurement
  • Rail expertise (signaling, SER, etc)
  • Commercial Managers / Contracts Manager / Quantity Surveyors
  • BIM Manager
  • Planner / Scheduler
  • Equipment Coordinator
  • Field Document Controller
  • Field Scheduler
  • Mechanical & Electrical Managers / Coordinators
  • Environmental Manager
  • Traffic Manager

Consulting roles:

  • Project Manager, Owner’s Representative
  • Civil / Structural Designers / Project Managers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Geotechnical design consultants
  • Cost consultants

Expertise in tunneling and rail design/construction is highly sought after to ensure the success of this project.

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will only available to senior personnel (10+ years of similar infrastructure experience), so all other candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

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Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the construction industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at r[email protected] for more details.

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Spring 2020 Pipeline Update: Ontario remains committed to $60bn infrastructure pipeline

Jun 18 2020 – $60-billion in new infrastructure projects will continue to move forward despite a global economic correction. That’s the update announced by Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott today (Jun 18 2020), with the P3 project pipeline expected to create many jobs and drive economic growth in Canada’s largest province with significant project development in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Scott predicts the projects will “generate thousands of jobs in the skilled trades, engineering, and design sectors.”

The plan outlines 32 P3 projects (public-private partnerships) already in active procurement or pre-procurement, plus 11 more projects in the planning stages. The pipeline of projects is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the construction sector, according to Scott, as key players in the industry will “partner with Ontario and successfully deliver the high-quality infrastructure that our province relies on and depends on.”

While the P3 project delivery format is immensely popular in Ontario, it is worth noting that other Canadian provinces are less enthusiastic about the public-private partnership model. BC’s NDP government, for example, has been moving away from the P3 model in recent years. Ontario remains firmly committed to infrastructure investment in Ontario and P3 project delivery which will stimulate the provincial economy post-Covid. This unprecedented investment will build critical infrastructure, create employment and deliver value for money using the P3 delivery model.

Thirteen of these projects are currently in procurement and another 24 projects are in the pre-transaction phase. In addition, 13 additional projects are currently included in the planning phase. The key updates are that some of the key transit projects have been fleshed out. Two new highway projects  (Highway 3 and Highway 17) will move forward. Many of the major hospital projects remain in planning mode.

The IO Market Update includes 16 new hospitals that will expand health care services across Ontario, plus a hefty lineup of transit projects in the GTA, including:

  • GO RER OnCorr electrification – Transit- $10bn
    • RFP issued in May 2019
  • Ontario Line subway – Transit – $10bn
    • Ontario Line – Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel RFP issued in June 2020 ($~4bn)
    • Ontario Line – Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance RFP issued in Jun 2020e ($~2bn)
  • GO Transit expansion projects – Transit – $2bn
    • GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – Central Corridor RFP issued in April 2018
      GO Expansion: Milton Corridor Upgrades RFP issued in April 2018
    • GO Expansion: Lakeshore West Corridor RFP issued in April 2018
  • Scarborough Subway Extension – Transit – $5bn 
    • Advance Tunnel for Scarborough Subway Extension RFQ issued in Mar 2020 (>$1bn)
  • Yonge North Subway Extension – Transit- $5bn
  • Eglinton Crosstown West LRT – Transit – $4bn
    • Advance Tunnel for Eglinton Crosstown West Extension RFQ issued in Mar 2020 (~$1bn)
  • Highway 3 (King’s Highway) – $200m
  • Highway 17 (King’s Highway 17) – $200-500m)
  • The Hospital for Sick Children – Institutional – $2bn
  • Windsor Regional Hospital – Institutional – $1bn
  • The Ottawa Hospital – Institutional – $2bn
  • Kingston General Hospital – Institutional  – $750m
  • Mississauga Hospital – Institutional – $2bn

Scott said that the project pipeline is the single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.

Cancellations:

  • Hamilton LRT – Ministry of Transportation reviewed and they will still commit to a $1bn investment in public transit in the area
  • Halton Courthouse – postponed due to Covid

Outpost Recruitment feels the impacts

Already the team at Outpost is feeling the impacts of Ontario’s ambitious infrastructure objectives, with founder Ruairi Spillane noting increased demand in the region.

“We’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are expected to perform well despite the global economy entering a slowdown post-Covid. Infrastructure is truly a global industry. ”

Outpost works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring professionals across senior management, project management, operations, design, quality, and commercial roles.

  • Buildings & Infrastructure Contracting – Operations, Project Management, Design, Site & Commercial Management professionals for general contractors and subcontractors (civil, ground engineering, M&E)
  • Engineering Consulting – Civil / Structural / Mechanical & Electrical design and project management.
  • Cost & Project Management Consulting – Cost Management, Project Monitoring, Infrastructure advisory, Client-side project management.

Get in touch with Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] or 778-861-1244 if you would like to explore employment opportunities across Canada.

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#1: How to add $10K to your salary! – The power of a killer construction / engineering resume (CV) in Canada

For nearly ten years, I’ve been consuming resumes non-stop. I review one construction or engineering resume after another, and decide whether to invest my time in learning more about the candidate.

Time is finite. In HR, we decide which candidates will help our clients by scanning their resume. Sometimes we see the potential in a candidate despite a poor resume, and sometimes the candidate’s potential will be missed simply because of a poor resume!

My agency, Outpost Recruitment, provides recruitment services to successful construction and engineering companies, so I need to think the same way they do. They want the top 10-20% of talent, so that’s where I focus.

Many candidates can make that top grade with a little coaching and work on communicating their skills. We coach candidates to build a construction or engineering resume that helps them differentiate their skills and experience, leapfrog the competition, and earn more money.

Your resume is a reflection of what you think of yourself as a professional. Anyone can enhance their construction or engineering resume and pack a bigger punch in their job search with a little bit of effort.

Why do we dislike working on our resume?

Engineering resumeLike most people, I hated putting a resume together but there is little reason to be intimidated by the task of writing your resume.

It’s a life skill to be able to sell yourself on paper and communicate how you can help a future employer. It’s a document that represents what you think of yourself as a professional. This is actually a task we should get excited about.

Conclusions I have made:

  • 80% of construction or engineering resumes I come across make no mention of the candidate’s performance in previous roles. They simply state the roles they held, the duties/responsibilities they were assigned, and the projects they were “involved in”. Lots of evidence to suggest they had a job, but zero evidence to show they were any good at it!
  • Most candidates, despite being highly competent in their role, struggle to communicate their value to employers. Modesty is often the barrier, but it’s often a case that the candidate is not self-aware of their strengths and achievements.

Is your resume holding you back from moving your career forward?

A weak resume creates an obstacle to a future employer seeing your potential.

It’s a personal document, so naturally many candidates get highly offended by constructive criticism. When job hunting, we rarely get informed that we didn’t get the job because our resume was poor. I will always politely inform a candidate that their construction or engineering resume “could be better”, but most will turn a blind eye instead of focusing on improving this crucial employment document.

Here are the most common reactions I receive when I give feedback on resumes:

  • “I didn’t have time to update it properly.” – Make time, not excuses. This is your presentation and you failed to put the effort in!
  • “I can talk about that in the interview.” – What happens if you don’t get called into that room?!
  • No response to my email. Thank you for showing your ability to handle direction!
  • “Thanks for pointing this out. How can it be improved?” – Game on! These candidates succeed with Outpost. We’re here to help with templates, online tips and real-life examples to help you.

How about if I told you we can work together to improve your construction or engineering resume, and my bet is that we can add another $10K (on average, say 10% of salary to be more accurate) to your package if you put your best foot forward? It’s very possible. Amazingly, this concept can work whether you switch jobs or not, as it can arm you with the ammunition to get a raise in your current role.

The importance of selling yourself in a construction or engineering resume

Engineering resumeThe ability to understand and communicate your value confidently to future employers is a skill that you can acquire with 3-4 hours of work. That’s a pretty small time commitment for a pretty solid return.

Your first touch point with a future employer is the construction or engineering resume you submit. This is where they create their first perception of your value as a candidate.

Common questions we forget to answer in our resume:

  • What kind of personality do you have? Are there things that excite and motivate you in your professional life?
  • What are your strengths?
  • How have you added value to your previous roles and projects (i.e. results and achievements)?
  • What problems have you encountered? Were there solutions you have been exposed to?
  • What did you learn?

What steps should you take?

  • Put your best foot forward. Hold off on your job search until your construction or engineering resume is perfect.
  • Invest time in exploring what makes you good at your job. Ask your boss, coworkers or clients what your strengths are.
  • Tell stories about problems you encountered and solutions you delivered. Focus on the highlights and they will want to interview you so they can learn more.
  • Give the context behind projects (scope) and situations. Help the reader visualize a project/situation!

What mistakes should you avoid?

Listing only the common duties and responsibilities of your role. It’s the easy option, but it’s simply boring and doesn’t add any value! As a Project Manager, your ability to “liaise with the clients and subcontractors to resolve issues” is a given! Avoid generics and focus on specific quantified (% or $) examples that demonstrate your capability to influence the project. What were the top 2-3 things that you achieved on each project? What problems did you solve?

Most agencies are not interested in helping you enhance your resume. Why? It takes time and time is $$. Outpost is different. We enjoy the consulting as it helps us engage with a candidate and get to know them better. We’re happy to invest some time in you, if you are willing to invest your time in yourself.

In summary, it amazes me how many candidates can’t see the connection between their construction or engineering resumes and how employers look at them. If this document oozes value, it will definitely loosen the purse strings of your future employer. Everyone wants to earn more. Invest in your resume and you can look the part!

Our next blog will highlight the components of that killer construction or engineering resume that’s going to take your career to the next level!

Ruairi.

Blogs in this series

About Outpost Recruitment

Register with Outpost Recruitment and we’ll send you a free resume template you can use for your job search. If you have registered previously and require the resume template, drop us an email at [email protected]

Sign-up to get your free template

Outpost Recruitment is a boutique agency that works with Canada’s leading construction and engineering companies. To learn more or register as a candidate, explore our website.

Explore the Outpost website

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#2: How to write a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada

Our previous post, How to add $10K to your salary!, highlighted the financial benefit of writing a unique, results-focused resume that sells your potential. This blog will focus on how to write a resume in the best format, to help you win construction and engineering jobs in Canada. Our next blog will focus more on results-focused content.

Other career-changing benefits to perfecting your resume include understanding your true value to any employer, winning interviews for dream roles, and leap-frogging your way up the career ladder. All these good things can happen with a minor time investment in this presentation.

Your resume is a sales document. Your future employer looks at your resume and decides from this document whether to take further interest and meet with you. Does your resume accurately reflect who you are as a professional? You only get one shot at presenting your resume so make it your best one!

What goes into a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada?

The Objective:

The sole objective for a resume is winning an interview. Allocating some time to chat with a potential employer, hiring for construction and engineering jobs in Canada, is the goal.

By demonstrating how you have added value to previous employers, your aim is that a future employer will give you the opportunity to engage further. “Doing your job” and “being involved in projects” does not attract interviews. Ensure you stand out from the crowd.

The Challenge:

You typically have less than 30 seconds to impress initially. This makes presentation, brevity and formatting critical.

Engineering jobs in CanadaThe Format:

You will be expected to follow the Canadian resume format. Your resume format must contain (in this order):

  • Personal Information.
  • Professional Summary.
  • Work Experience.
  • Education / professional development.

Where appropriate, you may also add:

  • Technical skills.
  • Volunteer experience / community involvement.

General pointers for your resume.

  • Always list your ideal/target job title up top to set the tone. If you’re applying for construction and engineering jobs in Canada, then this title should reflect a specific role in this sector. Research the best role to list here, as it will depend on the circumstances.
  • Use a professional resume template. Download our recommended template here.
  • Make it enjoyable to read. If you are bored writing it, then the reader will be bored reading it. Sell yourself to potential employers for construction and engineering jobs in Canada by confidently communicating the good things you have achieved.
  • Avoid long paragraphs. Use bullet points with 2-3 sentences maximum per bullet. Brevity!
  • Avoid small fonts (use size 11 at a minimum).
  • Do not use the first person. Avoid the use of “I”! (e.g. “I am technically competent”, “I worked at XYZ”). Use short sentences (e.g. “Worked at XYZ”, “Technically competent…”).
  • Your resume should be a maximum of 2-3 pages. Two pages is usually sufficient, however if you have a long and impressive career history, then three pages can be justified. Use a separate Project List document if you have a long list of projects that you would like to present.
  • Don’t waste valuable space. Only list relevant experience. It’s recommended to fill gaps, but focus on transferable skills only when highlighting irrelevant work experience.
  • Convert all terms to the North American equivalent. For example, use terms like “high school”, “GPA” (Grade Point Average — the equivalent for university grades), “internship”, etc.

Now let’s give a brief overview of the first two sections.

Personal Information.

  • Do not list your date of birth, gender, full postal address, marital status, etc.
  • List your location (e.g. Vancouver, B.C.), telephone number and email address all on the same line of your header. This will save space.
  • Adding your LinkedIn profile URL is completely optional. It’s almost a given that an employer will search for you on LinkedIn. If you do decide to add it, customize your URL so that it has a clear appearance.

Professional Summary.

This is the most important part of your resume. If you can describe yourself well in three or four sentences (10 seconds) then you set the tone for the remainder of your resume. The reader should be able to understand who you are from this paragraph alone so keep it high-level and focus on the below.

  • Your personality and strengths (“technically astute”, “personable”, “strong leader”, “team player”, etc).
  • Years of relevant experience / areas of the industry (contractor / consultant / owner).
  • Roles held to date, i.e. how your career has progressed.
  • Type of projects worked on (list the $ range) e.g. commercial buildings, infrastructure.
  • Education.
  • Career objectives – what are your goals for the next 2-3 years?

Ensure you cover all these topics. Your future employer should have a high-level snapshot of your skills and experience before they read any further detail. Think of the Professional Summary as the micro resume where you summarize the document with one concise paragraph.

Avoid generic comments (e.g. “honest and hardworking professional”). Give the reader a true insight into your strengths and objectives. These should be unique to you, and not things that anyone can write on their resume.

Our next blog, “Building a results-focused resume” deals specifically with how to communicate your value to potential employers for construction and engineering jobs in Canada.

Blogs in this series

About Outpost Recruitment.

Register with Outpost Recruitment and we’ll send you a free resume template you can use for your job search. If you have registered previously and require the resume template, drop us an email at [email protected]

Sign-up to get your free template

Outpost Recruitment is a boutique agency that works with Canada’s leading construction and engineering companies. To learn more or register as a candidate, explore our website.

Explore the Outpost website

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#3: How to build a results-focused resume for engineering and construction jobs in Canada

Focus on demonstrating quantifiable results if you want to impress hiring managers for engineering and construction jobs in Canada. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains how.

Our previous post, How to write a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada, highlighted the format that your killer resume should take.

The biggest weakness we come across when we review resumes is that they fail to answer one crucial question: Are you good at your job? That’s how I start the conversation about resume improvements normally. I politely ask the candidate to show me any evidence in their resume that they are good at their job. Most candidates do a fantastic job of describing their company, their projects, their duties and responsibilities. But there’s often nothing about their own performance in their job. Critical error!

This blog will focus on what format your Work Experience should take. It will explain how to focus on results-focused content to help you find engineering and construction jobs in Canada.

Work Experience

For each employer list your details in following format.

Role                  Company, Location                  Start / End Months (e.g. Jan 2012 – Jan 2014).
*Company is a general contractor focused on commercial buildings up to $10M.

*If the company is not well known to a future employer then add a brief line about the company.

  • Do not bore potential employers with all of all of your duties at previous jobs. For example, the duties of a Project Manager will be pretty similar in all engineering and construction jobs in Canada and across the world. This means any potential employer will already be familiar with the duties. Focus on giving quantifiable results/achievements, which speak to your performance in the role. What positive results did you have in each project/role?
  • Prepare this section by jotting down general or project-specific results achievements from each role. Ask yourself: what were the best things you achieved in each role? What stories can I communicate to display how good I am at my job? Think of 2-3 examples minimum for each role/project.
  • Once you have a result/achievement, then build each point by highlighting the specific problem (or situation) you encountered, actions taken (by you), and results accomplished (quantify the outcome).
  • Avoid things that aren’t achievements. For example, “completing a project on time and within budget” is your job! It may, however, be an achievement if other factors caused significant delays and you were able to bring the project back on schedule.

Formula

Study the formula below. This is how you create a link between your actions and business results that hiring managers for engineering and construction jobs in Canada care about. All candidates can talk about their actions but the crucial step is linking their actions to quantifiable business results. The key business driver for all firms is profit. The goal is to deliver quality work while increasing profit margins, so you need to speak to this goal. What are the parameters that impact each project?

  • Cost. Did you find ways to reduce the costs of delivering the projects (e.g. labour, materials, design change, early identification of a potential problem, etc)?
  • Time. Did you find ways to improve efficiency (e.g. better process, a creative way to fast track the schedule).
  • Quality. Did you find ways to avoid a quality issue, enhance the standard of work delivered, or improve relationships with the client?

Your future employer cares about making money so show them how you understand the commercial side of their business. Explore the impact of your performing your job well. Quantify the results/outcome for the project in terms of how it impacted the variables above, or the bottom line (profit).

Problem/Situation                  >>                  Action taken                  >>                  Results/Achievement.

Let’s use an example to help understand the components. A Project Manager outlines that his best achievement on a particular project was to beat the budgeted profit margin (8%) by 2%.

Problem/Situation — Why? Outline the context of the problem or situation.
Handed a construction project to deliver on time and within budget (basic requirements of your job).

Action Taken — What? This is where you feature in the story. What actions did you take to solve the problem/situation?
Analyzed the preliminary schedule and estimates. Identified various opportunities to create further savings in labour and materials with specific trades during construction.

Construction jobs in CanadaResult/Achievement — What was the impact of you performing your job well. Think cost, time and quality as these are the key parameters of any project. Always quantify the outcome, where possible.
Beat the targeted profit margin by 2%.

How would this look on a resume?

Successfully delivered an additional 2% profit margin over budgeted rate (8%) through identifying further cost savings on concrete and mechanical sub-trades.

Let it at that. You don’t need to tell the full story but you know you will be asked about this in an interview as it’s eye-catching and it shows you have a business mind. This will appeal to anyone hiring for engineering and construction jobs in Canada

Note that you don’t need to combine these three parts in order. It’s often more eye-catching to lead with the result/achievement and then provide context afterwards but you can vary the way you present information.

Always think “How did I impact cost, time and quality parameters of a project?” as that’s how the person interviewing you will think!

Our next blog, ‘How to sell your project experience to future employers’,  deals specifically with how to arrange your projects and whether you need to have a separate project list document.

Ruairi.

Blogs in this series

Find engineering and construction jobs in Canada with Outpost Recruitment

Register with Outpost Recruitment and we’ll send you a free resume template you can use for your job search. If you have registered previously and require the resume template, drop us an email at [email protected]

Sign-up to get your free template

Outpost Recruitment is a boutique agency that works with Canada’s leading construction and engineering companies. To learn more or register as a candidate, explore our website.

Explore the Outpost website

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#4: How to sell your project experience in an engineering or construction resume in Canada

Want to impress with your engineering or construction resume in Canada? Take the time to learn how to communicate your project experience. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains how.

Our last blog focused on how to build a results-focused resume for engineering and construction jobs in Canada. Given most construction and engineering roles are project-based, we wanted to focus on how to communicate your project experience to a potential employer.

It’s hard not to notice that candidates get lost in the bubble that is their workplace. Your value to future employers is reliant on your ability to step outside of this bubble. You need to clearly describe the projects you worked on and how you added value. It’s essential that you provide all the important information in your engineering or construction resume in Canada.

What does an employer need to know about each project?

  • Project Name.
  • Project Type. E.g. Commercial Building, Infrastructure, Site Services.
  • Project Location.
  • Time Period for the project.
  • Your Role on the project.
  • Scope of Project – 1-2 lines to help the reader visualize what was involved. Use metrics where possible for #floors, surface area, earthworks, concrete, etc. Numbers can be far more descriptive than words. Add project delivery method (Design Build, Design Bid Build, etc) and contract type (Construction management, fixed price / lump sum), etc).
  • Project Value – in Canadian $ only. Do not expect your hiring manage to performa currency calculations on your behalf!
  • 2-3 results/achievements (good things) that you were responsible for. Delivering the project ‘on time and on budget’ is doing your job and does not help a candidate stand out. How did you actions impact the cost, time or quality of the project?
          • E.g. Did you find ways to reduce costs , save time off the schedule, etc? Think about how your actions impacts the cost, time and quality parameters of the project. Always quantify the impact in terms of $ or %.
          • Did you find ways to improve the project margin i.e. increase scope of project or decrease the costs?
          • Did you find a more efficient way of performing a task? Quantify the savings in labour (days) or materials ($).
          • Did you spot a potential quality issue early which avoided any rework or delays?
          • Was the project successful? Why / Why not? What did you do to positively contribute?

How could this look? Here’s an example below.

PWB Shopping Centre, Calgary – Mixed-Use Residential  – $25M                                    Jan 2014 – Feb 2015

  • Worked as a Project Manager overseeing the design & build construction of a six-floor RC-frame building with three levels of underground parkade on a fixed price contract. Scope included all civil works, structural work and fit-out of 48 apartment units and eight commercial units on ground level.
  • Delivered project one week early and $500K under budget through cost savings. These were generated on formwork package and implementation of a fast-track schedule which required careful coordination of 10 sub contractors on site and 12-hour work shifts.
  • Suggested a design change to client with regard to M&E package. This helped them save 10% on mechanical installation.
  • Project delivered with a profit margin 2% over target primarily through early delivery.

The most common error we come across is candidates doing a great job in their engineering or construction resume in Canada of describing the projects they were “involved in”. But they neglect to mention any positive contributions that they have made to the projects.

Construction Resume in Canada

Great candidates make a positive impact on projects they work on. Your resume is about you, it’s not a document to sell your current / former employers’ capability. Don’t forget to talk about how you made a positive impact on each project. How did you make a difference? Ask yourself: “How did I add value to this project? How did my actions impact the cost, time and quality variables of each project?”

You must get comfortable communicating the good things you have done for previous employers. Tell short stories about problems you have encountered and solutions that you have come up with or been exposed to.

Your value to an employer goes far beyond your ability to do what you are told (duties and responsibilities). Your value to an employer is much greater when you can spot ways to improve a project. Show that you can take action to do so even if it’s not listed on your job description!

Are you struggling in your engineering or construction resume in Canada to determine your impact in each role/project? If so, think back on the main duties you perform and ask yourself these questions.

  • What is the outcome of me performing this task/duty well?
  • How does the project benefit from me performing this task/duty?
  • What would happen if I didn’t perform this task to the same standard?

Do I need a separate Project List document?

This level of information required for each project can be communicated in 5-6 lines of your resume. But if you have been involved in 10+ unique projects, then you may need to consider relocating some of the less important projects to a separate Project List document.

Your engineering or construction resume in Canada should present the highlights. A Project List is a useful document for less important projects or additional information that you still would like to communicate.

We recommend a separate project list document where you have completed an extensive list of projects (10+) and don’t have space to provide the required details for each project. Some employers expect to see a full project list so it’s no harm to have one at hand.

The format of your project list should be the exact same, as highlighted above. The only exception is you can add more details on duties / responsibilities in the Project List document given you have more space. Adding pictures is also a useful way to help the reader visualize each project.

Take action now!

To put these principles into effect, simply list your projects and note 2-3 of the best things you did on each project.

Think about what actions you took to create each positive outcome. Then, describe the Situation/Problem and finally quantify the Result/Achievement as per the formula on the previous blog.

Describing the good things you have achieved on each project can be quite satisfying. Start being proud of what you have achieved in your career and be excited to communicate it in your resume!

Our next blog entry will focus on managing your job search.

Ruairi.

Blogs in this series

About Outpost Recruitment

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The future of P3 project delivery in Canada

In November 2019, the annual CCPPP conference (Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships) took place in downtown Toronto. The conference attracts senior leadership from major industry players across Canada, from global contractors to engineering firms, and leading banks to boutique consultants. The public sector was strongly represented and attendees had the opportunity to listen to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, who was joined by Ministers for Infrastructure from the provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Alberta.

Here’s what we learned about the future of Public-Private Partnership (P3) project delivery in Canada:

Canada will maintain its commitment to P3 delivery after years of successes

Canada has enjoyed great success with Public-Private Partnership (P3) delivery over the past decade and this run is expected to continue with strong support nationally. Ontario has committed to $65bn of P3 projects across healthcare and transit in the coming years, while Alberta’s new government has voiced early commitment to furthering public-private partnerships. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have also reaffirmed their commitment to P3 delivery with Saskatchewan recently completing the Regina Bypass ($1.4bn), the largest P3 project in their history, and New Brunswick opting for long-term private sector engagement as the province plans a wide range of schools and healthcare projects. 

Train on rails next to city buildings
Ontario is investing in transit infrastructure development through the expansion of the GO transit system ($16bn).

Canada has a huge pipeline of P3 infrastructure projects

Ontario’s recently announced $65-billion in new infrastructure projects demonstrates the province’s desire to firmly establish a pipeline of exciting future projects. Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario, Laurie Scott, referred to this as “single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.” The CEO’s of Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, Ehren Corey and Phil Verster, respectively, presented a session on Ontario’s $28bn transit plan. 

The enthusiasm expressed by both government and corporate entities signals a growing national interest in the P3 model, an interest we expect to continue growing in years to come.

Appetite from other provinces is strong as witnessed by the presence of senior government officials from Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Notably, British Columbia’s NDP government appears less enthusiastic about the P3 delivery model, though this lack of enthusiasm is offset by interest expressed by the other provinces. 

Changes are coming in risk allocation and mitigation

Canadian contractors feel they are carrying too much risk. SNC has pulled out of major project pursuits and Graham has taken a step back in 2019. Under current design build lump sum contracts, risks including permitting, geotechnical, and more that cannot be understood prior to starting the project, are being transferred to the contractor. 

In Ontario, feedback from potential bidders in the GO Expansion project ($16bn), previously known as Regional Express Rail (RER), to Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx has led to consideration of “revised delivery strategy” to address bidders’ issues. Options include breaking the project into smaller parts for procurement purposes or reducing the 35-year life span of the contract.

What’s the solution? It’s likely that Canada will see the benefits of an alliance delivery model like those used in the UK and Australia. Union Station in Toronto represents a test case as Canada’s first alliance delivery model. It is also possible that Canadian P3 projects may consider the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) option for infrastructure where clients, general contractors, and sub trades all win / lose together by sharing risk. This model would incentivize early client and consultant involvement and align all stakeholders

Large colourful buildings of a hospital
The Glen Campus of the MUHC Hospital in Montreal is just one recent example of the many healthcare infrastructure projects expected across Canada in the coming years.

What skills does Canada need right now?

Canada’s population is expected to grow from 36 million to 50 million by 2050. The vast majority of this population growth will be a result of an aggressive immigration plan. Without immigration, Canada’s rate of population increase is expected to fall below zero in the next 15 years. Most newcomers to Canada will live in major cities, with ambitious infrastructure development expected in order to compensate for population expansion. The P3 model will continue to prosper as provincial governments seek to maximize their return on infrastructure investment by seeking private participation in the construction of public assets such as:

  • Healthcare (hospitals, mental health facilities, etc)
  • Transportation (highways, bridges, rail, port expansion, airport expansion)

Outpost are seeking the following skillsets for clients actively engaged in the P3 infrastructure market

Contractors:

  • Project Management: Project Directors, Project Manager, Project Coordinators
  • Site management: Superintendents, Field Engineers
  • Design Management: Design Manager, Design Coordinators
  • Commercial Management: Commercial Managers, Contract Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Risk Managers

Project Management / Cost Consultants:

  • Cost Consultants, Cost Monitoring, Estimating Managers, Project Consultants

Design Consultants:

  • Design Engineers and Project Managers across Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Geotechnical disciplines
  • Asset Management Consultant

If you have any of these skillsets and you’re interested in being a part of Canada’s P3 infrastructure boom, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. 

Create my Employment Profile

 

Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the P3 infrastructure sector in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.

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Immigration to Canada for construction and engineering professionals

Welcome to the Outpost Recruitment guide to immigrating to Canada for construction and engineering professionals. The immigration experts at our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, helped us to develop this guide, which has been updated for 2020. Spending a few minutes now to become familiar with which Canadian immigration programs are open to construction and engineering professionals may save you time, money and stress in the long run.

Outpost Recruitment has been helping international candidates find jobs since 2011, and one of the key steps is to obtain the right to work in Canada. If you’re interested in working in Canada and don’t yet have a work permit or immigration status, here’s how to get going.

The short overview

First, let’s call this out: you may not need — in fact, probably don’t need — the support of, or sponsorship from, an employer in Canada in order to navigate the Canadian immigration system. Very often, we see quality candidates from all over the world who have worked in the Middle East, Australia, or elsewhere, who assume that moving to Canada has to involve leveraging a particular job offer.

Canada is quite different. There are work permit categories that don’t require a job offer, and there is a direct, and relatively quick, route to permanent residence (PR), even if you don’t have a job offer and even if you have never lived in Canada before. Canada welcomes workers through a variety of PR programs, as well through a range of work permit categories.

Some of these work permit categories come under what is known as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows companies to petition the government to hire you, the foreign worker, to fill a specific role based on the need for someone with your skills and experience. This petition — as well as the actual document resulting from a successful application — is called a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA. Informally, this is often known in construction and engineering circles as “employer sponsorship”. The feasibility of obtaining a LMIA waxes and wanes with the economy, resulting in more LMIAs being issued to engineers and construction workers when times are good, and fewer when the market outlook isn’t so rosy.

Other work permit categories come under the International Mobility Program, which does not require employers or workers to get a LMIA (“employer sponsorship”) before you can begin working in Canada. Examples of work permits that may be obtained under the International Mobility Program include the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, international free trade agreements, and intra-company transfers.

It is almost always preferable to look towards getting a LMIA-exempt work permit (such as through the IEC program) before pursuing the LMIA route; it will likely take less time before you can get to Canada — suited or booted and ready for action — and your employer-to-be will appreciate not being dragged into the bureaucracy.

And what about PR? Well, over recent years Canada has pivoted to an economic immigration system, known as Express Entry, whereby those of you with plenty of work experience, a post-secondary education and English skills are prioritized for immigration, with processing times of around six months (sometimes less if you’re selected early and have your application ready; sometimes longer if you have to wait for an invitation and/or if you need to gather extra documents). With PR, you land in Canada with no time limit to your potential employment, and you can work for any employer, anywhere in Canada.

But that’s still six months, give or take, and the longer your potential employer in Canada has to wait for you, the more likely they are to start looking to hire someone else.

Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs, are another economic route to PR, but this also takes at least a few months from start to finish. These programs allow provinces to nominate workers with certain skill sets, and some provinces are on the lookout for construction and engineering professionals.

Work permits, especially LMIA-exempt work permits, can be obtained much more quickly. For this reason, as well the fact that Canadian work experience actually ends up giving you a heap of extra points for work experience obtained in Canada under Express Entry and PNPs, we recommend looking into getting a work permit first while also keeping an eye on your PR options.

Finally, studying in Canada as an international student allows you to work up to 20 hours per week while studying. Although this may not be an option for professionals seeking a full-time construction or engineering job, it is worth keeping in mind as an alternate pathway for immigration, particularly for spouses or partners who wish to accompany.

How can I find out if I’m eligible to move to Canada?

Canadian immigration authorities have a convenient tool on their website, called the Come to Canada tool. It takes a few minutes to fill out, and will give you an indication of which program(s) you may be eligible for.

Before using the tool, it’s a good idea to learn about the various options that are available for immigration to Canada. This means you can properly interpret the results provided. However, you should note that the tool only evaluates for programs operated by the federal government (i.e. the government of Canada), and does evaluate for those programs operated by the provinces (the PNPs). For this reason, we recommend the Come to Canada as a starting point, but it may not offer the sum of all your potential options.

There is lots of free assistance available online (such as the article you are now reading). However, if you have specific questions or concerns, we recommend seeking a professional consultation. This may entail a consultation fee, but if you are prepared with the questions you need answered, it could save you headaches, time and money later in the application process.

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, works with a range of regulated immigration consultants who can answer your questions and help you plan your move to Canada.

Get your questions answered by a regulated consultant

Let’s look at some of the Canadian immigration options for construction and engineering professionals in more detail.

IEC: International Experience Canada (Includes Working Holiday Work Permits)

Who’s it for?

Workers from more than 30 countries, including Australia, the UK, and Ireland, aged under 30 or 35, depending on the country. You can see the full breakdown of eligible countries, and the age requirements, on this list.

How does it work?

Every year, a number of open work permits are assigned to each participating country. Candidates can visit the Canadian immigration website and notify authorities of their desire to get one of these work permits.

After submitting this Expression of Interest, candidates may receive an invitation to apply for a work permit. With this invitation, candidates may submit forms and pay the application fees. Successful applicants receive a Letter of Introduction, which is presented on arrival in Canada in order for the work permit to be issued.

IEC program is usually open for about nine months each year, but your chances of receiving an invitation will depend on your nationality.

What’s the advantage?

For eligible candidates, it’s typically an easy way to get a work permit for Canada. The IEC program allows you to live and work in Canada for up to two years, depending on your nationality and the IEC category. Candidates under the working holiday category may obtain an open work permit, meaning they can work for almost any employer in Canada.

The IEC program is a gateway to permanent residency, as the work experience you gain in Canada may give you an advantage when applying for permanent immigration to Canada.

How much does it cost?

CAD$250, including the IEC participation fee and open work permit fee for working holiday work permits.

In the Young Professional and International Co-op categories, your employer also needs to pay the CAD$230 employer compliance fee.

How long does it take?

Once candidates express their interest in obtaining a work permit, they need to wait for an invitation to apply before they can submit their application forms. It can take days, weeks, or even longer to receive this invite, as they are issued to candidates at random.

However, once the forms and payments are submitted, it should take about eight weeks to receive your Letter of Introduction. We have seen Letters of Introduction issued sooner than that in many cases.

Other considerations

The time limit on the work permit means you may be better off applying for PR soon after getting the permit if you’re eligible to do so (though you may pursue both options simultaneously). In some countries, notably the UK, demand for IEC work permits usually far outstrips supply and thousands of candidates may be disappointed.

Some employers regard the limited duration of the work permit as too short, as they’ll be looking to hire staff who can stay with the company for a longer period. Also, some employers regard the ‘working holiday work permit’ as a transient permit, and may question participants’ career aspirations as a result. It’s up to you to correct that judgment in your potential employer’s eyes.

Open work permits for spouses and partners of IEC participants

If you are an IEC participant then your spouse or common-law partner may be able to obtain an open work permit and accompany you to Canada. In order for your spouse or partner to obtain an open work permit, you must be employed in Canada in a skilled occupations (National Occupational Classification skill level 0, A, or B) and must submit documentation proving this as part of your spouse or partner’s application.

This works both ways, too. If you’re struggling to gain work authorization in Canada and your spouse or partner is eligible for IEC, they may be able to get their IEC work permit and have you accompany them after they secure a skilled occupation.

Where can I learn more?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, explains more in its Working Holiday Visa in Canada guide.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Who’s it for?

Candidates who have been offered a job by a Canadian employer. The employer will need to pay relevant fees, and prove conclusively that no suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident could be found to perform this job. The employer will also need to meet other requirements in order to be deemed eligible to hire the foreign worker.

There are two types of LMIA: one for temporary work in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the other for permanent immigration through Express Entry. This section deals specifically with the LMIA-based work permit under the TFWP.

What’s the advantage?

For foreign workers who may otherwise be unable to secure a work permit, or find it difficult to do so, the TFWP offers an opportunity to work in Canada for a specific employer.

For employers, obtaining a LMIA allows the business to fill labour shortages.

How much does it cost?

Under the TFWP, employers need to pay $1,000 per position they’re filling. If the LMIA is approved, the worker must then apply for a work permit, entailing a fee of $155.

How long does it take?

A LMIA application may take a 2–4 months, including the time the employer has to advertise the position before asking the government for permission to hire you.

Other considerations

LMIA-approved foreign workers do not receive an open work permit, and are instead tied to a particular employer. This means they have less immediate flexibility should they wish to change employer at a later date, unless in the meantime they have pursued another immigration or work permit option.

Where can I learn more?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, has a full explanation of the LMIA process.

Express Entry

Who’s it for?

Open to skilled, educated foreign workers, with ability in English and/or French. Individuals of any age may become a candidate, but preference is given to younger workers seeking immigration to Canada.

How does it work?

Since January 2015, candidates can visit the Canadian immigration website and express their interest in becoming a permanent resident. Eligibility may be through any of the three Express Entry-linked programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker: You must score at least 67 points out of 100. Points are awarded for age, education, language ability, work experience, and other factors.
  • Canadian Experience Class: For workers with ongoing or recent skilled Canadian work experience.
  • Federal Skilled Trades: For tradespersons with experience in an eligible occupation.

The criteria for each program is different, and it is possible to be eligible for more than one. For example, if you have a mix of foreign and Canadian work experience, you may be eligible for both the FSWC and the CEC.

If eligible, you are assigned a score (out of 1,200) based on your education, career history, and other personal details, and will be ranked against other candidates under what is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Every few weeks, the top-ranking candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. While in the pool, candidates can strive to increase their CRS points total, and thus their ranking, by proving better human capital factors, for example by re-taking a language test or completing additional work experience.

Moreover, a candidate may obtain a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination through one of the many Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams. A provincial nomination is particularly valuable, as it results in 600 additional CRS points being awarded to the candidate, who will then be invited to apply in a subsequent draw from the pool.

What’s the advantage?

Express Entry has proven to be a quick system, with more than 80 percent of applications processed within six months. The process is entirely online, and it is easy to track the status of the application online.

Furthermore, Express Entry is a system that rewards proactive individuals who can prove to the government that they are likely to be economically successful upon settlement in Canada.

How much does it cost?

About $2,000–$2,500, including educational and language assessments, obtaining documents, and payment of fees, if you complete the process yourself.

Hiring representation (i.e. a regulated lawyer or consultant) would entail additional fees, but this is a price that many candidates feel is worth the outlay. Moving2Canada has partnered with a number of experienced representatives who can help candidates with their immigration goals.

How long does it take?

About 4–6 months from when you submit the application. In advance of this, additional time may be required to complete any relevant tests and obtain documents.

Other considerations

Success in this system is not guaranteed, as the government invites only a portion of candidates from the pool when it conducts one of its draws. However, the government has stated that the Express Entry pool is now the main source of economic permanent residence applications, and over time the CRS cut-off threshold has decreased.

Where can I learn more?

See the Express Entry Canada guide on Moving2Canada, our sister website.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Who is it for?

If you intend to reside in a specific province and you fit that province’s criteria, the PNP route may be for you. PNP streams often favour individuals with prior connections to the province, either through work experience, study, or family connections. However, you may be eligible to apply or invited to apply, as the case may be, without a connection — especially if you target provinces that welcome applications from construction and engineering professionals.

Which provinces are looking for construction professionals and/or engineers?

Some provinces, such as Ontario, receive applications from across the labour market, including a broad range of skilled workers; this may include construction professionals and engineers. Other provinces, however, have zoned in and explicitly said they want exactly these kinds of workers to fill jobs locally.

For example, the province of British Columbia offers the BC Tech Pilot, which was launched in 2017. The BC Tech Pilot has an eligible occupations list that includes civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical and electronics engineers, and chemical engineers. Eligible workers in these fields are prioritised for settlement in BC. Learn more here.

Another example would be Manitoba, where construction estimators and managers, industrial mechanics, and engineers (civil, mechanical, industrial, electrical) are all on the skilled worker in-demand occupations list. Learn more here.

Then there are also those provinces that focus more on transitioning temporary workers to permanent residence, rather than seeking newcomers in specific occupations (all the more reason to seek out a work permit first). Alberta would be an example of this strategy.

With more than 70 PNP streams in total, providing a full run-down here isn’t feasible. However, our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, recently added a great new tool so that you can filter through all of these in just a few seconds. Just input your occupation and/or other preferences, and the PNP Live Tracker Tool will work its magic to tell you which PNP stream(s) may be right for you.

How does it work?

If eligible, you first apply to the province for a provincial nomination. Some PNP streams require you to submit an expression of interest before you may be invited to apply.

Upon obtaining a nomination, you then apply for permanent residence.

Some PNP streams are aligned with the Express Entry system. These are known as enhanced streams. A nomination obtained through an enhanced PNP stream results in an Express Entry candidate being awarded 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, effectively guaranteeing that an invitation to apply (ITA) for immigration to Canada will be issued. The application for permanent residence will be receive priority processing by the federal government, with a processing time target of six months or less.

PNP streams that are not aligned with Express Entry are known as base streams. A nomination certificate obtained through a base PNP stream does not alter a candidate’s Express Entry CRS score. Indeed, eligible individuals may apply to a base PNP stream without ever having an Express Entry profile, and base PNP streams may offer a pathway to permanent residence for individuals who are not eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.

What’s the advantage?

For Express Entry candidates who have not yet met the CRS cut-off threshold set in Express Entry draws, enhanced PNP streams offer the opportunity to obtain additional points, resulting in the issuance of an ITA. For individuals not eligible for Express Entry, base PNP streams leave the door open for economic immigration to Canada.

How much does it cost?

That depends on the province and the stream. Some provinces allow individuals to make an expression of interest in immigrating to their province free of charge, with fees to be paid if or when an invitation to apply to the PNP is issued and a subsequent application submitted. Other PNP streams operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and consequently a processing fee would be demanded up front.

How long does it take?

As this is a two-step process, application processing times include a provincial processing stage and a federal processing stage, and both stages should be taken into account when considering the overall time it may take from start to finish.

Provincial stage: Some provinces publish updated processing times. Click any of the links below to find out more.

Ontario | Alberta | BC

Federal stage: For enhanced PNP streams, the federal processing time is usually under six months. For base PNP streams, average processing times at the federal stage are currently 15-19 months (as of February, 2019).

Other considerations

Applicants should have the intention to live in the province they are applying to. Once Canadian permanent residence has been granted, permanent residents have the right to live and work in any Canadian province or territory.

Where can I learn more?

In summary

Program/system

Result

Typical timeline

Employer sponsorship required?

IEC Work permit (1-2 years) 2 months No
LMIA Work permit (1-3 years) 2-4 months Yes
Express Entry PR 4-8 months No
PNP PR 6-24 months + Depends

The goal of this page is to give you an idea of what the main Canadian immigration options are for construction and engineering professionals. It doesn’t cover every single program or answer every last question. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into all the programs available, please visit the comprehensive Canadian immigration guide on Moving2Canada.com.

I’m ready to immigrate to Canada. What do I do when I have my work permit or immigration status?

Talk to Outpost! Since 2011, we’ve specialized in finding work for construction and engineering professionals, with companies across Canada who value international work experience.

When you have your immigration or work permit status submitted or secured, get in touch and we can explore your opportunities when you immigrate to Canada.

Use the official Come to Canada wizard to discover your eligibility

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Brexit and Canada: opportunities for construction and engineering workers

While the Conservative Party’s conclusive general election victory in December did bring some much-needed order to the Brexit chaos, the reality is that there is still a lot that needs to be figured out, even after the UK officially exits the EU on January 31.

With trade deals yet to be negotiated and confusion around who’ll be eligible to work in the UK from 2021, an increasing number of construction and engineering workers in the UK are weighing up their options for working abroad. Canada is chief among the destinations where construction workers can not only continue their careers, but also watch them grow.

If you’re searching for an exit from Brexit, here are just a few of the benefits of choosing Canada.

  • A shortage of construction workers and engineers ✔
  • Increased activity in infrastructure and industrial projects ✔
  • Opportunities in Vancouver, Toronto and other locations across Canada ✔
  • Speedy immigration process, valuing your experience and language skills ✔
  • The opportunity to obtain permanent status in Canada, even citizenship ✔
  • Your family can join you, and won’t need to fork out for expensive private school for your kids ✔

If that all sounds too good to be true, let’s have a closer look at the market as we enter 2020. Over-heating real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto are likely to cool this year, but increased activity in infrastructure and industrial projects will drive recruitment.

That’s where Outpost Recruitment comes in. For eight years now we have been helping British and Irish construction workers find roles in Canada, and our range of clients has grown. While the reality of Brexit may mean looking abroad when a couple of years ago this may not have been the case, focusing on a positive solution for you and your family, if applicable, will help you make the most of what may seem like a bad situation — a situation that is also an opportunity.

Outpost works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers and consultants who are hiring professionals across senior management, project management, operations, design, quality and commercial.

In Buildings & Infrastructure Contracting, we help our clients identify key Project Management, Design, Field & Commercial Management professionals.

In Engineering Consulting, we specialize in Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical design and Project Management.

As for Cost & Project Management Consulting, our clients come back to us time and time again looking for workers in Cost Management, Project Monitoring, Infrastructure advisory, and client-side Project Management.

Here are some of our current in-demand roles:

  • LNG infrastructure – Seeking candidates with experience in heavy civil, ports and marine and early works phase of major infrastructure projects.
  • Marine infrastructure
  • Water infrastructure
  • Geotechnical / Ground engineering
  • Hospital infrastructure – Project Managers, Design Managers, Superintendents and commercial professionals
  • Tenant Improvement / “Fit Out”
  • Tunneling & Rail Infrastructure – Project Managers, Design Managers, Superintendents and commercial professionals
  • Pipeline construction

You can visit our Jobs Board for details of each role.

Brexit doesn’t have to be a bad news story for your career. Please get in touch if you want to excel your career in 2019 and beyond.

How to Move to Canada from the UK

Young British professionals with a desire to work and travel can move to Canada from the UK on a two-year International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit up until they are 30 years old (this age varies between 30 and 35 for the other participating countries). “The IEC UK program has been heavily oversubscribed in recent years, so we expect well over 15,000 applicants for the 5,000 spaces available to UK citizens.”

For those over 30 years old, gaining permanent residency is the most viable route to working in Canada, as employer sponsorship is often difficult to attain. “Employer sponsorship tends to be available only to Senior Project Managers, Design Managers and Estimators with tier-one contracting experience or construction professionals with niche rail experience,” states Spillane.

Outpost Recruitment works with Canadian employers across civil, infrastructure and ICI buildings. Clients include global infrastructure contractors, leading Canadian contractors and consultancies, developers and subcontractors serving the Canadian market.

Outpost offers a range of knowledge articles to help international candidates prepare to be successful in the Canadian labour market. With more than five years of experience, Outpost can coach newcomers through the entire relocation process.

Despite the labour shortage, Canadian companies can be conservative when it comes to hiring international talent. Outpost provide our candidates with crucial coaching to help them assimilate to the local construction market. “International candidates often underestimate how challenging it can be to find work in a new country,” Spillane added.

More helpful resources

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Construction Job Titles & Salaries in Canada

There are many perks to careers in construction in Canada, but transitioning as a newcomer can be difficult. When you lack local experience it’s crucial that you get up to speed on the local market as quickly as possible. At Outpost Recruitment, we understand what employers are looking for when assessing international candidates and are committed to ensuring that our candidates find successful careers in construction. 

In our blog series, we’ve dealt with topics such as adapting your resume, networking, and organizing your job search, but in this article, we’re focusing on how to map your international experience to a role within construction in Canada.

First things first: don’t expect an employer to identify the best position for you. Do your research, target specific roles, and try to understand your strengths and weaknesses with regard to the local candidates you are competing against. This will help you in your quest to pursue a great career in construction in Canada.

It’s also essential to understand what the job titles used in various careers in construction in Canada actually mean. To help you out, we’ve built the following list of common job titles in construction and provided details on what to be aware of when comparing construction in Canada to international markets. Please be advised that we haven’t gone into detail about the generic duties and responsibilities of each role.

Note: The salary ranges outlined below are dependent on experience, education, project experience, location, etc. These ranges (in CAD) are purely a guide and are typical for permanent roles, with salaries for remote roles and shift rotations likely to vary. Superstars may well breach the upper salary limits.

Pre Construction job titles:

  • Pre Construction Manager – Client-facing role involving business development with a focus on coordination of pursuits and the tender process. Works on preparing early paperwork requirements prior to breaking ground and before handing over to a Project Manager.
    • Salary: $100k – 180k
  • Chief Estimator – Leads estimating team.
    • Salary: $120k -180k
  • Estimator – In Canada, general contractors will typically prepare their own Bill of Quantities for a tender. Some firms will allow an Estimator to help deliver a project once they have been successful but it’s more typical for an estimator to be focused solely on pre construction duties. Most companies seek career Estimators who are satisfied with focusing on estimating.
    • Salary: $60k – 160k
  • Design Manager / Design Coordinator – common role for design build projects from $50M upwards. There may be specific design roles for Civil/Structural, Mechanical, Electrical or combined roles depending on the complexity of the project.
    • Salary: $100k – 160k / $70k – $120k

Project Management job titles:

  • Project Manager (PM) – Typical role will include pre construction and project delivery functions such as planning, scheduling, budgeting, cost control, and contract administration. A key difference in construction in Canada is that the Project Manager will assume commercial responsibility for the project. The PM will deal directly with the client and subcontractors.
    • Salary: $90k – 160k
  • Senior Project Manager <> Construction Manager (CM) <> Project Director – Interchangeable construction job titles that describe an experienced PM who will oversee multiple projects and manage lower-level PMs.
    • Salary: $130k – 200k
  • Project Coordinator (PC) <> Junior PM <> Assistant PM – Project management role which focuses on any of the main PM duties. This role is typically a training area for aspiring Project Managers or a sandbox for international Project Managers while they adapt to the Canadian market. Some PCs may have a specific on-site focus, a commercial focus, or focus on project planning/scheduling. The Project Coordinator role will vary in terms of time spent in the office versus time spend on site.
    • Salary: $60k – 100k
  • Scheduler / Planner Emerging role for larger construction projects. Contractors are seeking experienced project planners now beyond candidates who are strong with scheduling software such as Primavera P6.
    • Salary: $120k – 180k

construction in Canada

Site Management job titles:

  • Site/Project Superintendent – Often coming from a trades background for buildings projects, this role will typically be held by an engineer for more complex technical projects. This role manages and supervises site operations for the project.
    • Salary: $90k -180k
  • Civil / Mechanical / Electrical Superintendent – Typically coming from a trades background, this role manages and supervises site operations for a specific discipline on larger projects.
    • Salary: $90k -160k
  • Foreman <> Assistant Site Superintendent <> Lead Hand – More common on larger projects where the Superintendent requires support for site operations.
    • Salary: $90k -160k
  • Health & Safety Manager / Advisor <> Certified Safety Officer (CSO) – This is often a career Health & Safety professional but may sometimes be an experienced tradesperson who is no longer keen to work on the tools.
    • Salary: $90k -130k  / $70k -100k
  • Field Engineer <> Site Engineer – This role is focused on technical engineering aspects of site operations and is more common on large infrastructure projects but may appear on a large buildings project ($40M+).
    • Salary: $60k -100k
  • M&E Project Manager / Coordinator – In recent experience, this role is more common for larger buildings projects (CAD$40M+). Depending on the size of the project there may be specialized Mechanical or Electrical PMs or PCs.
    • Salary: $90k -160k / $70k -100k
  • Quality Manager / Coordinator – Common for large infrastructure or building projects which will encompass quality audits and processes for construction.
    • Salary: $80k -160k

Commercial Management job titles:

  • Commercial Manager – Across buildings sectors, the commercial management function is often led by the Project Manager for projects up to $200m. Across infrastructure, contractors will always hire Commercial Managers to work in pre and post contract duties. This is an emerging commercially-focused role, but not very common in construction in Canada except for large projects (CAD$40M+) as commercial duties are typically under remit of the PM.
    • Salary: $120k – 180k
  • Contracts Manager Typically seen more often in infrastructure construction. In buildings, a Project Manager or Project Coordinator will likely carry out contract formation and administration activities.
    • Salary: $80k – 150k
  • Project Controls Manager – North American role which combines contract management, accounting, and progress reporting for projects.
    • Salary: $120k – 160k

Job titles that are not typically seen in careers in construction in Canada:

  • Quantity Surveyor – All cost control and commercial management duties for the project are part of the PM’s remit. A QS moving to work in construction in Canada must either find a rare Commercial Manager role, or reinvent themselves as a project management professional (PC or PM). Quantity Surveyors tend to adapt and become excellent commercially aware Project Managers. If keen to pursue a career in pre construction, a Quantity Surveyor can work as an Estimator. This is one of the most popular careers in construction for newcomers in Canada.
  • Contract Administrator – These duties within Buildings and Infrastructure will most likely be picked up by a PC who has a focus on costs and contracts.  This role can often be found on large projects ($40M+) but is not very common. It’s more common in the Industrial sector to see this role.
  • Site Agent – This common role in the UK is a combination of a PM and Superintendent. A Site Agent will need to decide on a site-focused (Superintendent) or project management (PM) role.
  • Project Engineer – This role is more commonly seen with engineer consultancy firms. In construction in Canada, you may see a Project Engineer role on larger infrastructure or industrial projects.

Careers in construction in Canada: Where to start?

When it comes to transitioning to one of the many careers in construction, it is vital that you get off to a good start. To help you achieve this goal, we at Outpost Recruitment have compiled some top tips that will help you hit the ground running.

Stay humble

It is important to remember that whether you’re starting a career in construction from scratch or transitioning from another sector, you may have to bide your time before landing your dream job. It is vital to use this time as an opportunity to learn and gain experience before progressing your career.

Be passionate

If you are eager to excel in your career in construction then you need to be passionate about what you do. Why settle for simply being good at what you do when you can be great? The best construction candidates we work with at Outpost Recruitment are always eager to better themselves by acquiring new techniques and developing professionally.

Be persistent

If you want to be a success in your career in construction in Canada then it is likely you’ll have to be persistent. You may not get your dream job right away, but by remaining persistent you stand a great chance of succeeding in the long run.

Professional Engineer Status

Engineers from abroad can’t use ‘Engineer’ in their job title until they are registered with their provincial engineering body and have obtained their Professional Engineer (P Eng) status. This usually takes a couple of years in Canada.

International candidates who hold their Chartership can gain P Eng status via the Washington Accord once they gain 12 months of Canadian work experience and sit an ethics exam.

‘Engineer-in-training’ is a term is used by engineering graduates who are working towards their P Eng status. Chartered engineers can transfer their status to Canada once they register with the provincial P Eng body.

Refer to Engineers Canada and specific provincial engineering organizations if you need more information

Gold Seal Certification and careers in construction

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) Gold Seal Certification Program is a comprehensive certification program that is internationally recognized. Candidates need to fulfill two years of local Canadian experience. The qualification is interchangeable with the CIOB Chartership from the UK.

CONTINUE READING: Explore the Outpost Recruitment blog series for more straightforward career advice.

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Find your role in Ontario’s new $65-billion infrastructure project pipeline

$65-billion in new infrastructure projects. That’s the ambitious plan announced by Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott last week, with the P3 project pipeline expected to create many jobs and drive economic growth in Canada’s largest province with significant project development in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Scott predicts the projects will “generate thousands of jobs in the skilled trades, engineering, and design sectors.”

Known as the 2019 Infrastructure Ontario (IO) Market Update, the plan outlines 32 P3 projects (public-private partnerships) already in active procurement or pre-procurement, plus 11 more projects in the planning stages. The pipeline of projects is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the construction sector, according to Scott, as key players in the industry will “partner with Ontario and successfully deliver the high-quality infrastructure that our province relies on and depends on.”

The IO Market Update includes 16 new hospitals that will expand health care services across Ontario, plus a hefty lineup of transit projects in the GTA, including:

  • Hamilton LRT – Transit – $1bn
  • GO RER OnCorr electrification – Transit- $10bn
  • Ontario Line subway – Transit – $10bn
  • GO Transit expansion projects – Transit – $2bn
  • Scarborough Subway Extension – Transit – $5bn
  • Yonge North Subway Extension – Transit- $5bn
  • Eglinton Crosstown LRT – Transit – $4bn
  • The Hospital for Sick Children – Institutional – $2bn
  • Windsor Regional Hospital – Institutional – $1bn
  • The Ottawa Hospital – Institutional – $2bn
  • Kingston General Hospital – Institutional  – $750m
  • Mississauga Hospital – Institutional – $2bn

 Scott said that the project pipeline is the single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.

Outpost Recruitment feels the impacts

Already the team at Outpost is feeling the impacts of Ontario’s ambitious infrastructure objectives, with founder Ruairi Spillane noting increased demand in the region.

“We’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Toronto as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are booming right now.”

Outpost works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring professionals across senior management, project management, operations, design, quality, and commercial roles.

  • Buildings & Infrastructure Contracting – Project Management, Design, Site & Commercial Management professionals for general contractors and subcontractors (civil, ground engineering, M&E)
  • Engineering Consulting – Civil / Structural / Mechanical & Electrical design and project management.
  • Cost & Project Management Consulting – Cost Management, Project Monitoring, Infrastructure advisory, Client-side project management.

Get in touch with Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] or 778-861-1244 if you would like to explore employment opportunities across Canada.

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Top Construction and Engineering Jobs in Canada

For newcomers to Canada with a background in construction, choosing the right construction job or engineering role is one of the most important aspects of their move. Your experience and talents are key factors, but you also need to know which roles are the most in demand construction and engineering jobs in Canada.

Outpost Recruitment specializes in construction and engineering roles across Canada. With years of combined experience, we have positive relationships with clients from coast to coast. We place candidates in sectors like general contracting, design engineering and project management consulting, property development, and across ICI (Institutional Commercial and Industrial) buildings, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Our experience in mentoring and placing local and international talent in construction jobs across Canada and frequent exchange with major companies in these sectors allows us to identify those roles most frequently in demand.

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge increase in activity in various construction and engineering related industries across Canada, particularly in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, but also regional areas across British Columbia. This includes mega projects like LNG Canada, but also a range of other municipal and regional projects. Our diligence to our work means we detect trends early on, and recently we have seen the demand for a number of top construction and engineering roles grow and grow thanks to the thriving markets in Canada. You can read more about these positions below:

 

Construction Project Manager

Job Description:

Construction Project Managers are responsible for providing overall management direction for projects, as well as being able to develop business opportunities with existing clients and developing relationships with new clients in terms of geographical and project-type priorities. Other tasks for a Construction Project Manager include the overseeing of project operations, particularly in terms of reaching profitability goals, duty assignment, health and safety implementation, budgets, scheduling and team communication.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Candidates for a Construction Project Manager job in Canada typically need a post-secondary Degree in engineering or the equivalent of a designated Professional Engineer or a Technical School graduate in a construction-related discipline. A minimum 5 years’ related construction experience are usually required for Project Manager roles. Project Coordinators (Project Coordinator, Assistant Project Manager and Junior Project Manager are used interchangeably in Canada) require a minimum 3+ years of experience. Other required qualifications include experience with construction management and design/build formats and familiarity with computerized project management systems, including scheduling, estimating, planning and cost control.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada. We’ve identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton and currently have clients looking for promising candidates for this type of construction job. If you are ready to build your career in Canada with us, then apply here!

Commercial Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

Commercial Managers are responsible for all financial aspects of the project or portfolio they manage. In infrastructure construction job environments, Commercial Managers usually perform the following construction management related tasks: project design management, contract administration and negotiation, project planning, administering of sub-contracts, contract resolution, project planning, as well as commercial issues such as procurement, commercial reporting, cost control and risk management.

In addition, Commercial Managers are responsible for the strategic development that ensures business and revenue growth targets are met.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree in a related field and/or corresponding professional membership is required for most positions. Experienced Commercial Managers are especially sought after, and we see that candidates with a minimum of 6 years commercial management experience on major projects strive in the current Canadian construction jobs market.

A candidate’s background matters strongly for these construction management jobs in Canada. Candidates currently operating at executive level on a major project or as commercial manager in a large construction company, or with experience in managing major subcontracts and design consultancies or with previous major project Joint Venture experience are at an advantage.

Hiring managers are usually looking for a proven track record in delivering commercial outcomes on major projects, and the ability to operate and manage at the executive level of the Project structure in a PPP/PFI environment.

Opportunities for commercial management candidates exist all over Canada. We currently have clients with needs for experienced candidates in Vancouver and Toronto, as well as some fly in fly out (FIFO) opportunities in remote locations. If you are interested in building your career with an attractive commercial management position, then apply here!

Construction Project Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

On infrastructure projects the Construction Project Manager is one of the most important construction management jobs. The Construction Project Manager can expect to work closely and report to the Project Director. Project Managers are responsible for ensuring that the entirety of the project is completed safely, on schedule, and in compliance with the contract schedule and project budgets. On top of that, a successful Project Manager should be able to maintain positive relationships with the owner and other relevant stakeholders. The Project Manager also supports the successful acquisition and tendering of various projects, as well as providing overall administrative direction, technical expertise and additional support to project teams. While the general responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager in Canada don’t vary too much between general construction jobs and infrastructure management, the specific project experience can differ widely.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Infrastructure construction project managers are required to possess education including an engineering degree, technical college diploma or equivalent combination of technical training and/or related experience.

Outpost Recruitment partners are particularly seeking senior Project Managers in infrastructure construction jobs, with a minimum of 7 years of experience. At this level the Project Manager needs to act with independence and lead administrative as well as field staff. The position also requires Design Build or P3 project experience and thorough knowledge of all aspects of construction (technology, equipment, methods), industry practices, estimating/budgeting, scheduling and safety requirements.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver and Toronto. If you are interested in building your career in Canada with a great Construction Project Management job, Outpost Recruitment is currently looking for candidates here!

Construction Estimator, Infrastructure

Job Description:

A Construction Estimator will be primarily responsible for pricing projects as assigned or directed by the Bid Manager. This multifaceted role requires the estimator to meet clients, conduct site reviews, prepare quantities, execute contract negotiations and review all other relevant information. The environment for this construction job in Canada is project driven, fast-paced and can be demanding at times.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

This role requires strong organizational and communication skills. Candidates should possess field experience in related disciplines and understanding of construction processes, the ability to read and interpret construction drawings and be proficient at using Bid2Win or a similar estimating software. Candidates with industry experience in transportation, roads and large infrastructure projects are especially sought after. A Gold Seal Certification or BCIT graduation will usually be considered additional assets.

Construction Estimators for infrastructure projects are particularly in demand in Canada and clients are often hiring on all experience levels. Outpost Recruitment has identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

Want to follow your dreams as a Construction Estimator? If so, apply here!

Construction Estimator, Buildings

Job Description:

While responsibilities of Construction Estimators are similar between infrastructure and building construction jobs, the project experience required differs significantly. The estimator’s responsibilities on building projects include the assignment and measurement of quantities, costing and sub-trade analysis, competitive bid management, and the allocation of necessary cash allowances for presentation and final review. The Estimator will be involved in estimating activities which will include preparing hard bid, cost plus and design build estimates for projects.

An Estimator will report directly to the Chief Estimator of the buildings group and will be responsible for performing all facets of an estimate for current and future construction jobs/projects.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

In the buildings sector, experienced Construction Estimators are particularly in demand and a minimum of 7 years’ experience as an estimator in the ICI sector will make for the most interesting profile. At this level the candidate will direct the work activities of other Estimators as required. A strong knowledge of the local construction industry is often necessary, making this position more challenging to attain for newcomers. Nevertheless, candidates with experience working on complex institutional, commercial, light industrial, multi-unit residential, and civil structures up to $50 Million will usually find consideration. A proven track record preparing detailed estimates and submitting lump-sum tenders as well as preparing preliminary construction schedules will also be necessary.

Candidates are required to hold a diploma in Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering, or a diploma in Building Technology.

Outpost Recruitment is filling positions for this role across Canada, specifically in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Want to use your skills to excel as an Estimator? If so, you can apply for this construction job here.

Electrical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

When it comes to engineering jobs, the Electrical Engineer is a very important position. The Electrical Engineer reports directly to the Project Manager, Senior Designer or Team Leader, depending on the project. Given the multidisciplinary nature of this role, an ideal Electrical Engineering candidate needs to be a team player with minimal supervision, as well as having great communication skills and a can-do attitude. They also need to work closely with Architects, Structural Consultants, Code Consultants, Geotechnical Consultants as the project requires. Finally, proficient operating knowledge of AutoCAD is required.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A minimum of 3-5 years AutoCAD design experience coupled with 2 years design experience in LV, HV, control and lighting systems will usually be required. The abilities to read Architectural, Structural and Electrical drawings and to apply prescriptive requirements of electrical building services engineering codes are key. Candidates need to possess a university or college degree in a related field, and either be eligible to apply for or already have an E.I.T. classification.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada, and there are many opportunities specifically in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Want to take the next step in one of the most sought-after engineering jobs? If so, you need to apply for an Electrical Engineering position on our jobs board today!

Mechanical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

Mechanical Engineering jobs require applicants to maintain strong client relationships and build new businesses across the company’s portfolio. In addition, they will need to mentor team members and lead a design team from the front with innovation and initiative.

Other responsibilities include the implementation of design concepts through the preparation and production of drawings and schematics of mechanical systems for commercial, institutional, residential, public and private facilities. Additionally, the Mechanical Engineer designs mechanical HVACs, and the plumbing and fire protection in large-scale commercial and institutional building applications. The role coordinates with other consulting disciplines to ensure drawing integrity and completeness.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Post-secondary education in Mechanical Engineering or another relevant discipline such as Building Systems is required. A minimum of 3+ years of relevant working experience makes for the most sought-after profile. Candidates will be expected to have a background developing construction documents using AutoCAD and/or Revit and be familiar with bid and tendering processes. Extensive knowledge of detailed architectural drawings and construction concepts and the ability to read and apply pertinent codes and standards is a key skill. Newcomers to Canada need to be prepared with excellent knowledge of Canadian/Provincial and other relevant codes and standards (i.e.: ESC, CSA, IES, IEEE, NFPA) in the industry. P. Eng. or CET certifications are an asset in this position.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver. If you want an engineering job that will fulfill you professionally, then this Mechanical Engineering position could be perfect for you.

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Ready to start your career in Canada?

If you’re unsure whether or not one of these roles suit you, or would simply like a second opinion, why not talk to Outpost Recruitment? Since 2011, we have specialized in pairing the best local and international construction and engineering professionals with companies across Canada. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Register with us and make the first step. Or apply to a position through our jobs board.

About Outpost Recruitment

We are a boutique agency with a solid business foundation, we mentor local and international talent. Our aim is to help the qualified and motivated candidates we work with find their desired role, whilst also ensuring that the needs of our clients are met. Outpost Recruitment provides a fresh, personalized approach to doing business, and we make it our mission to understand our candidates and clients’ respective needs. We achieve this by taking a proactive approach to what we do and by staying on top of what is happening in your market. Our ‘no nonsense’ approach means we listen, seek to understand, advise and communicate on progress as required. Bottom line: we can be counted on to deliver. We use our passion for what we do to make sure that we pair the perfect candidate with their dream job.

Other articles that may help you:

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Hiring: Pipeline construction roles in Western Canada

The absence of appropriate pipeline infrastructure has presented a huge challenge to Canada’s oil and gas industry over the past decade. Low oil prices and delays in investment decisions on LNG projects have put increased emphasis on the need for pipeline infrastructure to allow for increased exports of oil and gas. With two major pipeline projects moving forward, Outpost Recruitment has been contracted to assist with hiring for both site-based and office-based roles on two mega pipeline projects:

Trans Mountain Pipeline ($7.4bn)

The $7.4bn pipeline project aimed at twinning the existing oil pipeline between Edmonton (Alberta) and Vancouver (British Columbia) has been marred with controversy and delays. Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline was expected to draw a line under the issue, but environment appeals continue to linger with construction likely to start in the coming months.

Coastal Gas Link Pipeline ($2.1bn)

The Coastal GasLink pipeline project aims to deliver natural gas from Dawson Creek, British Columbia (BC), to a facility near Kitimat. Following LNG Canada’s announcement of a final investment decision (FID) on the mega $40bn project in Kitimat, this project is now in construction.

Hiring in pipeline construction

With work commenced in Spring 2019 on two major projects, Outpost Recruitment is currently hiring candidates with civil (early works, excavation and site services) experience across major pipeline projects. All roles will be on a 6/2  roster from May to November. Candidates may opt to return to office work in November or take time off if they prefer during winter months. Roles we are currently hiring for:

    • Superintendents
    • Project Management: Project Managers, Project Coordinators, Project Engineers
    • Commercial Management: Quantity Surveyor, Senior Commercial Coordinator/Estimator,  Cost Controls Coordinator
    • Planners
    • HSE:  HSE Coordinators, Project Safety Advisor, Health & Safety Administrator
    • Environmental:  Environmental Manager, Environmental Coordinators
    • Quality: Quality Coordinators, QA/QC Manager
    • Surveyors
    • Assistant Engineering Manager
    • Engineering Manager
    • Equipment Coordinator
    • Field Document Controller
    • Field Scheduler
    • HR Coordinator
    • Indigenous & Employment Coordinator
    • Indigenous & Local Engagement Liaison
    • Information Technology
    • Operations Manager
    • Information Technology Specialist
    • Progress Chaser
    • Project Contract Specialist
    • Project Controls Lead

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will only available to senior pipeline personnel, so all other candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

To create your profile, please click here.

Future hiring opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the pipeline industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected]utpostrecruitment.com for more details.

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Five steps to being successful with Outpost Recruitment

Step 1: Create a profile via the Outpost website

Once we have an understanding of your skill set and an outline of the type of role you are looking for, we can determine if we have a suitable role for you.

Create your profile here.

Step 2: Create a Canadian-style resume

This is crucial to your success, and where Outpost can add the most value to the process. Canadian employers expect to receive a resume in a specific format, and we insist on applying this format to help you maximize your chances of success in Canada. A strong resume will bring more interviews, assist in interview preparation, and help you attract a higher salary.

Read our resume blog series to kick-start your job search:

Step 3: Initial screening interview

In instances where we feel we can help, we will set up a video conference or in-person meeting with you. We use this opportunity to learn more about you and your preferences, as well as answer any questions you have about the process. This discussion will give us a clear picture of how we can help you.

Step 4: Feedback and shortlisting

Outpost Recruitment will work with you to create a profile for presentation to employers, highlight suitable roles, provide insight into the market, and contact employers on your behalf. In the meantime, we ask you as the candidate to help us by taking ownership of the process and being proactive.

Step 5: Executing the job search

The pace of recruitment in Canada is significantly slower than in many other locations around the world. Our role here is to keep you updated on feedback, get you prepared for telephone / video / in-person interviews, and provide advice as you assess each career option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why use a recruiter?

Outpost Recruitment has specialized in construction and engineering recruitment in Canada since 2012. We speak with industry experts, employers, and candidates every day, so our fingers are on the pulse of the Canadian construction industry. We provide free consulting on your resume, job prospects, interview preparation, and salary negotiations to help you be successful in your job search.

Do you charge candidates a fee for finding them a job?

Never. Charging a fee for recruitment services is illegal. Our clients — the employers — pay us a fee to help them solve the pain of finding great people.

What can I do to expedite the process?

We encourage you to be open to change and to be proactive throughout the process. We enjoy working with people who take charge of their own destiny. Our success depends on open communication and teamwork. Ensure you keep us updated throughout the process.

Will using a recruitment agency affect my salary?

No. This is one of the common myths about recruitment. Companies use recruitment agencies because they provide a valuable service to their organization. Recruitment fees are a cost of doing business, and employers never deduct this fee from an employee’s compensation package. The popularity of Outpost Recruitment is a result of our fantastic pool of international candidates, our caring approach to recruitment, and our cost-effective fees, which help employers control their hiring costs.

Is it okay to apply directly to companies or use other agencies?

Yes, of course. We don’t enforce candidates to work exclusively with us, but we do ask candidates to keep us updated on their progress. It’s crucial that we are kept informed of any changes and updates to your job hunt. Strong teamwork between candidate and recruitment consultant is crucial to success.

Regardless of the situation, we can’t overstate enough the importance of being in control of your resume. Make sure you know exactly where it is being sent and create a list so that you can follow up.  It’s important to control where your resume is sent, so always ensure that any recruitment agency you are working with seeks your permission before sending on your resume. Otherwise, it can be harmful to your job search when an employer has received your resume from multiple sources.

What if you do not find a job for me?

Our promise is that we will always add some value to your job hunt. We provide free consulting on your resume, the jobs market, and relocation advice. If we do not think we can help with your job search, we will make this clear from the beginning and recommend that you use other resources.

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Interview questions and preparation

Getting an interview simply means that you have provided yourself a platform to demonstrate your suitability for the role. The hard work starts here. Practice speaking about yourself out loud in front of friends as this will allow you to become comfortable, but most importantly prepare yourself to answer potential interview questions.

It’s your chance to shine. The biggest challenge with an interview is that there is a huge volume of information to prepare, and it’s hard to predict whether the interview will focus on personality, technical and personality / culture fit questions, or perhaps all three combined. Nailing the interview process is entirely in your hands. It’s easy to get your mind sharp on all potential permutations of questions and to be ready for a whirlwind interview.

The task is not to provide an answer for every question. Success means you have provided the best possible answer for every question. This means you have accurately understood the questions, addressed all potential solutions, and provided an answer that has a clear structure (introduction, main points, and a conclusion).

Being familiar with your weakness is the most savvy way to approach an interview. Below are two of the most common weaknesses we encounter with international candidates:

Immigration risk

Unless you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you will need to address the issue of immigration risk. If you are an international candidate without local experience, then the interview panel will need to be convinced that you are planning to stay in Canada beyond 3-4 years. Otherwise, it’s not a smart investment for them.

Despite Canada being a diverse and multicultural country, employers are extremely conservative when it comes to hiring international workers on a temporary work permit. If you are a temporary work permit holder (e.g. IEC working holiday) then do some research on the process for applying for permanent residence so that the employer understands you. Your temporary work permit is the elephant in the room, so address the issue straight up from the start. Mention a temporary work permit instead of a “working holiday visa” and use the term “relocation” to add permanence to your term in Canada. The words you choose carry more weight than you may think. After all, an employer sees you as an investment for the company. Their goal is to hire, train, and retain an employee for the long term.

It’s encouraged that you have a good idea of how you may transition to permanent status in Canada once you have built up some Canadian work experience. You’ll be better prepared for that step, and your potential employer will have greater confidence that Canada is your long-term home. See the helpful links to Express Entry and the Canadian Experience Class immigration program here:

Lack of local experience

All countries like to do things their own way, and Canada is no different. Although construction is a global industry, Canadian employers will need to understand that you are committed to learning and adapting to the Canadian way. Construction methods, contracts and processes can be different between countries. Acknowledging that a learning curve exists and that it can take time to adjust is the best way to deal with this issue.

General advice on preparing for interview questions:

  • Ensure you have researched the company and the role extensively. If you are new to the country, you need to demonstrate an ability to get up to speed quickly.
  • If new to Canada, prepare to speak about your motivation for moving to Canada and how long you plan to stay. Do not mention “working holiday”, “temporary work permit” or “gap year”. Instead, mention “I relocated to Canada for the quality of life (example)”. Companies want to hire someone who is focused on building a career with the company. Ensure that you display you are determined to stay in Canada long term by proving yourself worthy to employers.
  • Many interviews will begin with the prompt “tell me about yourself”. Prepare a two-minute overview of yourself that takes your interviewers through your resume and displays your suitability for the role in question. Practice this out loud over and over again. First impressions last, so this is a short slot to show your employer how competent you are.
  • Do not use phrases like “as you can see”. Proceed as if they have never seen your resume.
  • Write out answers to all potential interview questions and ensure the answers roll off your tongue. Your ability to plan and prepare is being examined, so do your research.
  • Sometimes interviewers will ask planned interview questions to test your ability to think on your feet. Listen carefully to each question, always pause to plan your answer, and only speak when you know exactly what points you are going to make.
  • Focus on having an introduction, a body, and a summary for each answer.
  • Speak slowly. It’s easy to rush when nerves take over, but slowing down will ensure your brain has a chance to work out what to say next. Additionally, it will ensure your answers to interview questions are fully understood. Always think before you speak.
  • Answer concisely, but try to avoid yes/no answers.
  • Don’t worry about pausing before you answer — it shows you can think before answering.
  • Don’t worry about admitting that you don’t know something, but don’t say it too often. You can admit that you don’t know the answer, but you will follow up with them once you verify the information.
  • Be prepared for abstract hypothetical interview questions that you may not have prepared — take your time, and think before you speak.
  • Be prepared for unexpected interview questions.
  • Keep the conversation moving.
  • Speak up when answering interview questions.
  • Remember to smile and make eye contact with the interviewers — this will show confidence in your communication skills.

Typical interview questions

1. Tell me about yourself
Keep your answer to one or two minutes. Don’t ramble. Use your Professional Summary on your resume as a starting point, as this should cover your education, work experience, skills, and career objectives.

2. What do you know about our company?
Do your homework before the interview. Spend some time researching the company by exploring the company website and by researching the backgrounds of key employees on LinkedIn. Prepare for interview questions on this topic. Find out as much as you can: products, size, income, reputation, image, people, skills, history, and philosophy. Be able to demonstrate an informed interest. Let the interviewer tell you about the company as well. Ask any questions relating to the company.

3. Why do you want to work for us?
Don’t talk about what you want, first talk about their needs. You would like to be part of a specific company project; you would like to solve a company problem; you can make a definite contribution to specific company goals.

4. What could you do for us? What can you do for us that someone else can’t do?
Refer to past experiences that show you’ve had success in solving previous employer problems that may be similar to those of the prospective employer. You could bring in some aspects of international experience, for example use of specific software, BIM experience, dealing with different cultures, or exposure to different languages.

5. What do you find most attractive / least attractive about the job offered?
List three or more attractive factors and only one minor unattractive factor.

6. Why should we hire you?
Because of your knowledge, experience, abilities, and skills. Elaborate by using specific examples.

7. What do you look for in a job?
This is an opportunity to use your skills, to perform, and to be recognized.

8. Please give me your definition of a {the position for which you are being interviewed}.
Keep it brief. Give a definition related to actions and results.

9. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our company?
Not long at all, you expect only a brief period of adjustment. You are a fast learner, adapt well to surroundings.

10. How long would you stay with us?
Focus on showing your employer that you are in Canada for the long term. Tell them that you intend to stay and build your career here in Canada. Show that you are dedicated and committed, especially if experience demonstrates that you can point to a previous long stint with an employer (e.g. five or more years).

Personality-based interview questions

11. Do you generally speak to people before they speak to you?
Depends on the circumstances.

12. What was the last book you read? Movie you saw? Sporting event you attended?
Talk about books, sports, or films to show that you have balance in your life. Interview questions like this give a glimpse into your personality, so try to be positive.

13. What is the toughest part of a job for you?
Be honest. Remember, not everyone can do everything.

14. Are you creative?
Yes, and give examples.

15. How would you describe your own personality?
Balanced.

16. Are you a leader?
Yes, and give examples.

17. What are your future goals?
Avoid “I would like the job you advertised”. Instead, give long-term goals. For example, outline the role you are you looking to achieve in the future (e.g Project Manager / Commercial Manager).

18. What are your strong points?
Give at least three and relate them to the company and job you are interviewing for.

Career goals — interview questions

19. If you could start your career again, what would you do differently?
Don’t give the impression of being regretful.

20. What career options do you have at the moment?
Relate these to the position and industry.

21. How would you describe the essence of success? According to your definition of success, how successful have you been so far?
Think carefully about your answer to these interview questions, and relate it to your career accomplishments.

Your work habits and style

22. If I spoke to your previous manager, what would he or she say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Emphasize skills — don’t be overly negative about your weaknesses. It is always safer to identify a lack of a skill as an area of improvement rather than a shortcoming.

23. Can you work under pressure, deadlines, etc?
Yes, it’s a way of life in business.

24. How have you changed the nature of your job?
Improved it, of course.

25. In your present position, what problems have you identified that had previously been overlooked?
Keep it brief, don’t boast.

26. Don’t you feel you might be better off in a different size company? Different type of company?
Depends on the job. Elaborate slightly.

27. How do you resolve conflict on a project team?
First you discuss the issues privately.

28. What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make?
Try to relate your response to the prospective employment situation.

29. In your current or last position, what are or were your five most significant achievements?
Refer to key achievements already identified on your resume.

30. How to answer the ‘your biggest weakness’ interview question
The interviewer won’t be impressed with classics like “I’m a perfectionist,” “I’m a slave to my job,” or “I’m a workaholic.”

You’re sitting face-to-face with the person you most want to impress — your prospective boss — and he or she is asking you, “What is your greatest weakness?” This is probably one of the most difficult and frequently asked interview questions, so it’s smart to be well prepared with a good answer. Here are some strategies to consider when preparing your answer to interview questions about ‘your biggest weakness’.

Interviewers really don’t care what your weaknesses are. The interviewer simply wants to see how you handle the question and what your answer may indicate about you. They also want to see how well you’ve prepared for this question, as you should know it is coming.

Be honest, and answer it in a way that reflects positively on you. Mention a genuine weakness, but not one that will disqualify you in the interview.

“My area for improvement is…”

Highlight a skill that you wish to improve upon and, more importantly, describe what you are proactively doing to enhance your skills in this area. Being able to say you are actively trying to change your weakness into a strength is a good idea. For example, “The area I would like improve on is public speaking, and I have just enrolled in a Toastmasters course.”

Highlighting an area for improvement demonstrates that you are self-aware. Describing what you are doing about that weakness demonstrates that you are proactive and seek to improve your talents.

Name weaknesses that have little to do with your prospective job. You can nominate a skill you may not actually need on the job, like languages, for example.

Avoid the blatant, overused ones. Examples include “My problem is I work too hard” or “Perfectionism” or “I am a workaholic incapable of taking lunch breaks.” With such weaknesses, who needs strengths? A few employers eat this stuff up, but most will roll their eyes and send you packing.

31. Behavioural interview questions

Be sure to have examples dealing with conflict, stressful situations, achievements, initiative, teamwork, and leadership. Some interviewers choose not to ask the “weakness” question directly but to couch it in terms of a past experience.

Behavioural interview questions that draw out deficiencies are: “Tell about the biggest mistake you made in your career and what you learned from it,” or “Give an example of when you disagreed with your boss or co-worker and how you handled it.”

Choose your weakness before the interview. Limit your answer to one weakness and say what you did in order to overcome it. Overcoming a weakness is actually developing a strength.

Being able to discuss your weaknesses also indicates an ability to handle constructive criticism without becoming defensive. It shows a willingness to grow personally.

Other common interview questions:

32. Why are you here?

33. If you had only one way to describe yourself, what would it be?

34. When have you failed?

35. What’s the one accomplishment that you are most proud of? Why?

36. What qualities in your co-workers bother you most? What do you appreciate most?

37. How do you take advantage of your strengths? How do you compensate for your weaknesses?

38. If I were to ask your current boss what your greatest strength is, what would he or she tell me?

39. If I were to ask you current boss to tell me one thing you do that drives him crazy, what would he or she tell me?

40. What’s one thing you would like to do better? What’s your plan for improving?

41. What changes have you made in working with others to become more effective at work?

42. What do you think are the most important attributes of successful people? How do you rate yourself in those areas?

43. How do you make decisions?

44. If you were limited to just one person to get advice and help from, which person would you choose? Why?

45. Tell me about a work incident in which you were totally honest, despite a potential risk or downside.

46. What would you do if you made an important business decision and a co-worker challenged it?

47. Describe a crisis you faced at work. What was your role? How did you resolve it? What were the results?

48. Describe a time when you were asked to do something you weren’t trained to do. How did you handle it?

49. Describe the boss who would get the very best work from you?

50. What will make you love coming to work here every day?

51. What would you do if management made a decision you didn’t agree with?

52. What is there about this opportunity that most excites you?

53. What is your greatest fear about this opportunity?

54. If you get the job, how could you lose money for me?

55. Assume that you come to work here. One year from now you go home one Friday evening thinking that accepting this job was the best thing you ever did. What happened during the year for you to feel that way?

56. Is there any question that I haven’t asked you that I should?

57. How do you feel about potential travel from time to time as the business demands? (e.g. out of province or country / remote job site)?

“Is there anything you would like to ask us?” Questions to ask the interviewer.

It is a good idea to have questions prepared for the end of the interview. It will show interest in the role and company. It is not advised to ask about the package or salary at this stage. You should focus more on the organization and the role itself.

Question examples may include:

–  What are the main objectives of the role?

–  How does the company expect these objectives to be met?

–  What obstacles are commonly encountered in reaching these objectives?

–  What is the desired time frame for reaching these objectives?

–  What is the career progression like with the job?

–  May I contact you with further questions?

–  What do you enjoy most about working for the company?

–  What’s the company culture like?

–  What are the biggest challenges for this position?

–  How would somebody like me contribute to the company?

–  What type of educational background do you look for in your employees?

–  What are the skills and attributes you value most in your employees?

–  What types of training do you offer?

–  What are the opportunities for advancement?

–  What does X mean for the company?

Preparing for an interview

So, you’ve secured an interview with an employer in Canada. It’s your chance to shine, and you want to make the best possible impact. All it takes is a little effort to ensure that you impress the interview panel. This article is aimed at helping you prepare mentally for the big day.

Preparation

  • Research the company inside out. Use all possible resources (Google search, LinkedIn, company website, current employees, your recruiter, etc.) to learn as much as you possibly can about the company.
  • Know the interview panel. Confirm the details of who you will be meeting, as this will help preparations.Detailed research should give you some insights into each person you will be facing in the room. Get familiar with each of the interview panel members using LinkedIn, company bio, and other social media profiles for clues on their interests, personality, and their role/position within the company. The interview can take different directions depending on whether your interview panel consists of:
    • A member of Human Resources – expect broader behavioral questions and questions on fit and knowledge of company values /culture.
    • The hiring manager – he or she may focus more on your past experience and your technical abilities to meet the requirements of the role.
    • A senior executive – he or she may focus on high-level questions such as your career aspirations and overall fit within the company.
  • Have relevant questions prepared on some of the following topics:
    • Specifics of the role
    • Recent events at the company
    • Company performance
    • Personal development
    • Corporate values
  • Dress code – if in doubt, always overdress versus underdress. Do not take an unnecessary risk on dress code For office-based roles, a suit is always your best bet, but any smart business attire will work. For site-based roles, smart business attire is best.
  • Research the location of the interview and ensure you verify logistics around getting to the interview on time. Do a test run if necessary, particularly if the interview is in a neighbourhood that you are not overly with. Traffic, delayed buses, and incorrect advice from Google Maps are not valid excuses. Being late or arriving gasping for breath at the exact moment the interview is due to begin leaves a poor first in-person impression.
  • Print off a few copies of your resume to bring with you. Members of the interview panel should not have to share a copy.
  • Research all possible interview questions you may be asked (see extensive list above). The key to nailing an interview is that ideally you should have considered the best possible answer to each question.  Success isn’t about blurting out what comes into your head, it’s about being able to provide a concise answer that best demonstrates your skills and abilities. This can only be achieved via practice.
  • Bring business cards. Personal branding is important, so don’t be afraid to get business cards made up so you can offer your business card, but most importantly receive the interviewers’ contact information
  • Ensure you are prepared to look your best, with no last minute crisis on the morning of the interview. Do you need a haircut / belt / shoe polish / shave?

On the day of your interview

  • Pack a pen, notebook, additional notes, business cards, and your resume.
  • Dress to impress.
  • Arrive early. Plan to get to your location at least 30 minutes before the interview. Grab a coffee nearby if you are too early to approach reception (decaf if you’re the type to get jittery with a hit of caffeine).
  • Best avoid turning up at reception more than 15 minutes early.
  • Be on your best behavior with the receptionist. Don’t sit there fumbling on your phone. Read some company literature or ask the receptionist some questions if he or she is open to chatting with you.

In the interview

  • Approach each panelist with a smile, a firm handshake, and eye contact.
  • Be prepared for some small talk as you are led to the interview room or waiting on arrival of another interviewer. Potential topics: Weather, location of office, recent company news.
  • “Tell me about yourself” – this is the glorious icebreaker moment when you define the tone of the interview. Refer to your Interview Questions article for more insights. This is your 30-second elevator pitch. Be ready to nail this with confidence. Keep it brief.
  • Use your pauses wisely. Gathering your thoughts is a crucial skill of leaders. When nervous, we often rush to answer questions. Take at least 2-3 seconds to reflect on every question, regardless of whether you know how to answer or not. You will come across as calm and measured.
  • Be wary of your body language while you sit in the room. Keep things simple. No dominant poses, just sit upright and avoid folding your arms or fumbling with your pen.
  • Smile periodically, when appropriate, and maintain eye contact as you speak with the panelists. Vary your attention accordingly with each panelist.
  • Manage your emotions. The interview panel’s job is to get to know you so they may ask questions rapidly, stare cold-faced, or interrogate you slightly so they can get to know you better. Be ready for this, identify it, and manage you response. Don’t take the bait if they use negative tones or ask probing questions to test simulate a difficult client situation.
  • Take notes. Remember, you are keen to make the best possible decision, so don’t rely on remembering every detail of an interview.
  • Listen for clues in language and tone from the interview panel. If the interview involved discussions around salary expectations, potential start dates, or the panelists spend 5-10 minutes trying to sell you on why you need to work for them, then it’s possible you have performed very well.
  • Gather as much information as you can. If you still have a burning question you forgot to ask earlier in the conversation, then bring it up.
  • Ask for feedback: “Based on our discussion to date, do you feel like I would be a good fit for this role?” Not always possible, but it’s worth asking!
  • Ask about next steps.
  • Ask for business cards (if not provided at beginning of interview) so you can send a “thank you” email.
  • Show gratitude to each member of the interview panel.

After the interview

  • Contact your recruiter (if applicable) as soon as possible so you can discuss how things went.
  • Send a “thank you” email (if appropriate i.e. you have their contact details, there is an invitation to continue to conversation and your recruiter has given the green light to communicate directly) to each member of the interview panel.
  • Seek feedback via your recruiter or directly.

Some quick notes on remote interviews

The above information assumes an in-person interview scenario, but an increasingly common format is for a candidate and potential employer to engage in a telephone or video interview.

Many of the above points are also applicable for interviews conducted remotely, but here are some additional tips to guide you towards a successful interview.

Telephone Interview

  • Find a quiet location with no distractions.
  • For this exam, you can bring your notes so there is no excuse to being adequately prepared.
  • It’s crucial to pause before answering questions, so you avoid speaking over the other person.

Video Interview

  • Ensure you are online at least a few minutes before the interview is due to begin, and that you have tested your internet connection if you are not in a familiar location.
  • Allow for delays, so try to pause before answering questions and not cut in on the interviewer when he or she is speaking.
  • Ensure you have good lighting sound quality.
  • Dress smartly.
  • Remember to smile periodically and engage by looking at the camera when you are speaking.

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International candidate FAQ

How does the construction market currently look in Canada?

The construction industry in Canada is particularly strong. While natural resources are a key driver of construction industry across Canada, the overall industry remains strong since the commodity crash in 2014.

The sharp drop in commodity prices affected construction activities for mining and oil and gas sectors in resource-rich provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

In British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, the construction sector has remained relatively steady due to booming real estate markets and increased infrastructure spending.

In 2019, the stronger employment markets in terms of major cities include Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec being the strongest performing economies among the most populated Canadian provinces. If you are looking to avoid large cities, then Vancouver Island, Northern BC, and suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) also offer lots of opportunity.

I need a job offer to gain employer sponsorship via a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Is this possible?

The LMIA process serves as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is ready, willing and able to fill a specific position in Canada, and so the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker. In order to prove this, employers must advertise the position for at least four weeks and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

While Canada offers many immigration routes that allow employers and candidates alike to bypass the LMIA route, it may be an option in situations when the worker is unable to avail of an LMIA-exempt option.

From our perspective looking across construction roles, there are only a few specific roles for which obtaining a LMIA is a viable strategy. The prerequisite is that you are working for a tier-one contractor on large projects:

  • Senior Project Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Project Director, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Design Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings
  • Superintendent, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Senior Estimator, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)
  • Commercial Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)
  • Scheduler / Planner, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)

These are high demand roles (senior-level roles with general contractors on large $100m+ projects) where employers are finding it extremely difficult to hire local talent. Employer sponsorship is extremely unlikely in consultancy environment as they tend to be more conservative in terms of immigration processes. General contractors are the most common source of employer sponsorship in construction markets in Canada as they tend to look to international markets in times of skills shortages.

All I need is a job offer in order to obtain permanent residence (PR). Is this possible?

For example, you are sitting in the Express Entry pool with around 400 to 430 CRS points, which, based on recent Express Entry invitation rounds, may not quite be enough for you to obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residence. We understand the dilemma; all you need is a job offer and you will have enough points to gain an invitation, because that job offer is worth at least 50 points, likely putting you above the threshold to receive an invitation.

If you are in the Express Entry pool and have a potential employer who applies for a LMIA supporting your permanent residence candidacy, the processing service standard is 10 business days. However, it will take a few more weeks for the company to advertise the position in advance (yes, even if they actually want you, and only you).

Employers may consider a ‘dual intent’ LMIA (which entails a $1,000 fee) if they need to fill a vacancy quickly but also intend to retain you permanently. This has the advantage of getting you to Canada more quickly on a temporary work permit first, while also helping you to boost your Express Entry CRS points total and giving the employer the confidence that you intend to (and can) stay in Canada long-term. It’s a win-win-win. Feasibly, this could get you to Canada and working within 2-3 months from first contact to arrival, while also putting you on a direct pathway to PR.

There is also an option — which we urge employers and candidates alike to avoid — whereby the employer may pursue a LMIA for the purpose of supporting your permanent residence candidacy only. This would help to boost your points, but you and the employer are still looking at at least six months (and more likely eight or nine months) from first contact all the way to you being in Canada, ready and able to work. Employers typically don’t like to hire forward by such a time span, as it’s difficult to plan this far ahead. Though this option does not entail a fee, the $1,000 fee for the option outlined in the paragraph above should not be a concern as it would get you, the candidate, working in Canada far more quickly. The main, and perhaps only, reason an employer would pursue this fee-free option for hiring Express Entry candidates is a lack of awareness of the alternative.

If you do not fit the requirements of Express Entry, it’s worth noting that there are a range of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), and you may be eligible for at least one of these. Be warned that the ‘Come to Canada’ tool only covers federal immigration programs, so you may find a suitable PNP program to allow you to move to Canada.

When is the best time to start applying for roles?

The quick answer is around 4-12 weeks prior to arrival, but there are lots of exceptions. It all depends on your work status in Canada and where you are in the immigration process, your level of seniority, and the role itself. Depending on your role, there is such a thing as applying too soon, so working with Outpost to plan your job search strategy can be highly valuable. Here’s a brief note on each of these factors:

Work status in Canada

If you have secured the right to work in Canada by obtaining a work permit or permanent resident status, then you have removed one of the key obstacles in finding employment. Employer sponsorship is not common for construction roles in Canada (see above), so international job hunting without having the right to work in Canada is a difficult challenge. At Outpost, we have clients that provide sponsorship for some specific roles and project types where professionals are in high demand. Roles such as Senior Project Manager, Senior Estimators, and Commercial Managers on infrastructure and ICI (Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Buildings) are more likely to achieve employer sponsorship.

Job role

Niche roles such as Estimators, Quantity Surveyors, and senior-level management roles such as Project Managers, Superintendents, Commercial Managers, and Design Managers are harder to fill, so your job search can start much earlier given employers will always plan ahead. Junior / Intermediate roles are much easier to fill so employers typically don’t plan more than eight weeks ahead for these roles.

Level of seniority

Junior candidates are doing themselves a disservice applying for roles more than three months in advance of arrival as their application won’t be considered. Senior candidates can always apply 3-6 months in advance given that employers will likely plan ahead when hiring for senior roles.

I’m looking to get a job offer prior to flying out to Canada as I’m reluctant to give up my current role. Is this something that is possible in Canada?

We understand it’s a substantial risk coming to Canada with no job in-hand, especially since rental agreements may require a form of employment contact details to secure deposits and get accommodation. Gaining a job offer before landing in Canada will mostly depend on your seniority. Canadian employers are typically reluctant to commit to a job offer without a face-to-face meeting. It’s in the interests of both the candidate and the employer, as it will allow you to access first-hand the office, project, team, culture, etc.

The happy medium in all this is that as the move gets closer you will be able to engage with employers via video conference and the situation won’t appear as risky as it may seem earlier in the process. All actions are risky. The goal should be to research the employment market, build a relationship with a few employers, and then commit to the move and making things work in Canada. As you learn more about Canada and the employment market, it will feel more like an opportunity than a risk.

Potential strategies around this risk would be to consider making a trip to Canada for face-to-face interviews in advance of your move. This would allow you to finalize a role before serving notice in your current role.

How long will the job search take?

The hiring process in Canada can be quite slow, so allow 4-6 weeks for the whole process of your resume gaining traction, multiple rounds of interviews, and then negotiations to take place.  A hiring process taking less than 2-3 weeks from start to finish is considered extremely quick.

Learn more about the psychology of the job hunt.

Do clients look negatively on the 1- or 2-year Working Holiday visa? How do I overcome this obstacle?

Yes, while having a 1-2 year work permit is better than no permit at all, 1-2 years is considered an extremely short amount of time given international candidates will have a 3- to 6-month adjustment curve to the local market. Employers will expect a minimum 3-4 year return on their investment, so think and speak beyond the temporary work permit or you will not succeed. While one or two years may seem like a serious commitment to a new country, your future employer will likely be quizzing you on your intentions to stay beyond this term. Being unprepared for the “how long do you plan to stay in Canada?” question will nullify all your hard work in impressing the interview panel.

As a general rule, your temporary status will be the elephant in the interview room, so we highly recommend bringing up the topic before they do. Ensure you have researched your options around applying for permanent residence as you will need to convince your employer that you are at least considering a longer stay. Best focus on wording such as “relocation” and “arriving on a work permit initially” and ask questions around whether your employer will support your permanent residence application if they are happy with your performance. Actions speak louder than words, so if you can demonstrate research and potentially start your permanent residence process (e.g. sit an English test and gain your Education Credential Assessment), it will overcome this obstacle.

In terms of salary, are companies rigid on what is offered, or is there generally a bit of flexibility and negotiation?

It’s all open. Your CV/resume is how you see yourself, so if this doesn’t demonstrate how you can deliver value to a future employer then you are sabotaging your own job search. No point in waiting for the interview room before you begin to impress, as you must be able to do it on paper first. The employer will form of a view of what you are worth once they review your resume. A stronger resume means more interview opportunities and a higher starting salary.

Read our resume blog series to kick-start your job search:

What are the standard benefits I should be looking for?

In addition to base salary, Canadian employers can (or in some cases, must) offer the following employment benefits:

  • Paid vacation days. Ten days is the statutory minimum requirement in Canada, though certain provinces set a higher minimum number of annual leave days. Typically, 12-15 days is considered standard, though most employers also reward loyalty with more days off the longer an employee remains at the company.
  • Coverage of public health premiums and extended health.
  • Car allowance (common) or company car if travel is required during work hours.
  • Fuel card (if a car is needed in order for you to perform your role).
  • Laptop, cell phone.
  • Pension plan contribution via RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) matching. If applicable, the employer may match from 5-10% of your contribution.
  • Employee share ownership.

Learn more about understanding your Canadian job offer.

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Psychology of the job hunt

The only things that stand between you and your Canadian dream is obtaining a work permit or permanent residence and finding a job. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? While Canada’s construction market is booming, the bad news is that the recruitment process in Canada can be painstakingly slow. You will need to be mentally prepared as you prepare for what can be quite an emotionally draining process in a new country.

The Canadian recruitment process

International candidates often assume that similar immigration and recruitment processes will apply in Canada as they do in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or the Middle East. This is not the case. Canada’s immigration system is focused on welcoming long-term permanent residents, as opposed to short-term temporary foreign workers, and consequently Canadian employers tend to be far more conservative when it comes to international hiring. Even those workers who arrive in Canada as temporary foreign workers are encouraged to transition to permanent residence through government programs created for that very purpose.

In our Preparation for an Interview article, we wrote about the two main weaknesses of a typical international candidate:

  • Lack of local experience
  • Flight risk

A Canadian employer will usually hesitate over hiring a foreign worker due to doubts over their ability to adapt and whether they will stay in Canada long term. Other things being equal, employers will prefer a candidate with local experience who is settled in Canada, so be prepared for questioning, hesitation, and delays.

How long will it take to find me a role?

This is a broad question, and the answer can vary depending on:

  • whether you are in Canada (overseas job hunting usually takes longer);
  • Junior vs Senior roles; and/or
  • the urgency of the role.

The recruitment process in Canada can often take 3-5 weeks, or even longer. That’s right, it can take around a month to finalize a job offer once we have delivered your resume to an employer. Although there is a labour shortage in Canada, employers like to take their time and will move along at their own pace. The recruitment process is a roller-coaster, so you need to buckle up and be ready for it, otherwise it will test your sanity. Here are some of the common reasons why it can take so long:

  • Determining interest from hiring managers can be slow when they are distracted with projects and operations.
  • Scheduling interviews and gathering feedback.
  • Making an offer.

While 2-3 rounds of interviews and a job offer can be closed off in 1-2 weeks in most developed economies, the process typically takes much longer in Canada. Don’t take it personally, as it’s easy to do so when you have arrived in a new country and need to find employment. Waiting on employers can quickly take the excitement out of your arrival in Canada, so be prepared for the slump as progress stalls.

Candidates start with lots of energy, but after just a couple of weeks in Canada you may start to question everything.

  • Why am I not hearing from employers?
  • Why such a delay in scheduling the second interview?
  • Why have I been waiting for over a week for the job offer they promised me?

It’s not about you. Blame Canada and the slow recruitment process, but don’t blame yourself. The process will take the exact same amount of time whether you go with it or against it, so arrive prepared and armed with patience, and maintain your self-confidence. Self-doubt may creep in, but remember your job search should be about finding a role for 3-4 years or longer, so an additional 2-3 weeks is just a minor blip in the process.

What not to do

  • Do not lower your standards. When we meet with some candidates on arrival, they are brimming with confidence before suddenly, two weeks later, they are in panic mode despite being warned. Instead of reaching for the stars, the candidate is now applying for B-list roles that didn’t excite them two weeks previously. Big mistake, as when you start your B-list role, your A-list employer will come calling and now you are indebted to your B-list employer. Create a game plan and stick to it!
  • Do not give up on Canada. Yes, it happens. I have witnessed the Canadian recruitment process really question candidates’ emotions. “Why don’t they want me? How can it be taking so long if they are interested in hiring me?” Ride the emotion!

What do I do to preserve my sanity while waiting?

  • Be mature. If someone told you you could have your dream job if it took 2-3 weeks longer than you expect, what would you do? You would find a way to keep yourself busy and finance yourself. Find temporary work if finances are strained.
  • Be conscious that self doubt is part of the process of starting a new life in Canada.
  • Keep busy. Sitting at home waiting for emails to arrive will drive any human being mad, so attend networking events, go on adventures, and make new friends. Do anything within reason to keep your mind busy.
  • Arrange job interviews via Skype pre-arrival and then plan some trips when you get to Canada. With less vacation time to be expected once you land your A-list job (which you will, with the right attitude), this period of unemployment should be cherished. Take the time to get to know your surroundings.
  • Focus on the positives. If your only measurement is finding a job, then you will consider yourself a failure until you have one. Set realistic and achievable goals like arranging 2-3 interviews in your first two weeks in Canada.

Most of all, remain positive.

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Understanding a Canadian job offer

As an international candidate, it’s important to understand what to expect when receiving a job offer from a Canadian employer. We’ve summarized the crucial items, so you can understand the typical items in a Canadian job offer.

Base salary

No surprises here, except that salary is typically paid bi-weekly.

Profit-sharing / Bonus

Discretionary bonus is not a given. This varies from employer to employer. It can be based on individual, project, division, or overall company performance, or a combination of any of these factors. Ask about the calculation and historical payments to get a better understanding of potential value to you.

RRSP

This means Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Your employer may opt not to make any contribution, pay a percentage contribution (typically ~2 – 5%), or opt to match your contribution up to 5-10%.

Learn more here.

Immigration

Your job offer will likely be contingent on your eligibility to work in Canada. Your new employer may need a copy of your temporary work permit or proof of permanent resident status.

Health benefits

While each Canadian province has its own public health plan, your employer will likely offer extended health benefits as well. This can cover up to 80% of dental, physiotherapy, massage, and other expenses that are not covered by your provincial health plan.

Probation

Your job offer will likely contain a probationary period, typically running to three months, which is standard in Canada.

Vacation days

Depending on the job location within Canada, your employer must offer a minimum number of paid vacation days, also known as annual leave. The federal minimum is 10 days, though some provinces mandate employers to offer more paid days off to full-time employees.

You may also receive an allowance for sick leave days and personal days.

Car allowance

Only applicable is travel is required to fulfill your role. Instead of providing a company car, most Canadian firms like to provide a car allowance to their employees. This can typically range from $500-$1000 per month. Your monthly car allowance taxable benefit for these funds are for the lease or purchase of a vehicle, vehicle insurance, fuel, and maintenance.

Offer acceptance date

Remember to check when the employer would like you to accept or reject the offer. The date will be noted in the job offer, and you should respond by this date.

Void cheque

A void cheque might also be requested when accepting a job offer. This is so the company can set up your salary payment. You can provide a copy of a blank cheque if it is in your possession, or alternatively you can visit your local bank and they will issue you with a written void cheque.

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Hiring: Play your part in Canada’s LNG industry

In October 2018, after years of speculation and frustration, LNG Canada announced a final investment decision (FID) on the mega $40bn project in Kitimat, a small coastal town in Northern BC.

The LNG liquefaction plant in Kitimat will be Canada’s first LNG export facility, with further mega projects expected to move forward. With Canada being late in the global game, it was crucial for Canada’s LNG industry to get a project moving forward after years of delays and uncertainty.

LNG Canada is a joint venture (JV) that comprises of Shell, PETRONAS, PetroChina, Mitsubishi Corporation and KOGAS. LNG Canada represents the single largest private sector investment project in Canadian history. The $40bn value represents the overall value of the LNG liquefaction export facility (initially $18bn, with a second phase due in 2023) and associated pipeline construction ($6.2bn). Initially, the plant will export 14 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). The FID is for two processing units or “trains,” with first LNG expected before the middle of the next decade. LNG Canada’s export plant has been designed to achieve the lowest carbon intensity of any large-scale LNG plant operating in the world today.

Why LNG?

With demand for LNG expected to double by 2035 compared with today, as a result of global commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, LNG Canada will provide natural gas to countries where imported gas could displace more carbon intensive energy sources and help to address global climate change and air pollution.

Why Northern BC?

LNG Canada is advantaged by access to abundant, low-cost natural gas from British Columbia’s vast reserves and the relatively short shipping distance to North Asia, which is about 50% shorter than from the US Gulf of Mexico and avoids the Panama Canal. The LNG Plant will be constructed on a large, partially-developed industrial site with existing deep-water port, roads, rail and power supplies.

Hiring at LNG Canada

With work commenced in late 2018, Outpost Recruitment is currently hiring candidates with civil (early works, excavation and site services) experience across major projects.  All roles will be on a 14/7 FIFO roster with flights available from major Canadian cities.

  • Superintendents
  • Project Managers
  • Project Coordinators
  • Project Engineers
  • HSE Coordinators
  • Environmental Coordinators
  • Surveyors
  • Quality Coordinators

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will not be available, so all candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

To create your profile, please click here.

Future hiring opportunities

Given Canada does not have LNG expertise, Canada will look to international expertise for cryogenic tank construction and process infrastructure for LNG liquefaction plants. Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the LNG industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.

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Outpost Recruitment welcomes the award of the $1.4bn Pattullo Bridge project

The winning consortium for Vancouver’s much-needed Pattullo Bridge replacement project was announced in January 2020. 

The $1.4bn design-build lump sum contract specifies the delivery of a new four-lane suspension bridge crossing the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey. It will be built about 100 metres upstream of the existing 1937-built structure, roughly parallel to the aging crossing.

The bridge is designed with the capability to be widened to six lanes in the future, but this is partially accomplished by narrowing the width of the original four-lane design. Improvements will also be made to the road network at the ends of the bridge. However, there will not be a direct connection between the south end of the bridge and Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road).

Artist rendering of Pattullo Bridge, in BC
Artist rendering of the Pattullo Bridge replacement project. (Government of BC)

Since the cancellation of the Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge in 2017 and indecision around a new Surrey LRT line, confidence in British Columbia’s infrastructure sector has been low. Amazingly, Vancouver has had only one billion dollar mega infrastructure project, the Evergreen Line LRT ($1.4bn —completed in 2016), since the South Fraser Perimeter Road was completed in 2013. It’s been a long wait for a major project.

Vancouver-based Outpost Recruitment are uniquely placed to assist in hiring for this project. Through their sister website, Moving2Canada, Outpost have been tracking local and international talent since 2011. “With the Vancouver market already stretched by a strong real estate market and a booming municipal infrastructure market, our clients enjoy our extended reach in national and global infrastructure talent,” commented founder Ruairi Spillane noting that B.C. is facing a major labour shortage. “We expect to be very busy over the next 5 years as infrastructure is truly a global market and we help clients expand their reach and innovate through people using the latest technology and construction methods.”

“Overall, we’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Vancouver as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are booming right now, as these are the most popular cities with incoming talent.

Outpost are urgently seeking candidates for the following roles across contracting and consulting.

Contractor roles:

  • Superintendent – Civil / Structural
  • Project Manager / Coordinators – Civil / Structural
  • Site Engineer
  • Design Managers / Coordinators
  • Field Engineers (Civil / Structural)
  • Quality Coordinators, QA/QC Manager
  • Project Controls / Contracts Managers / Procurement?
  • Commercial Managers / Quantity Surveyors
  • BIM Manager
  • Planner / Scheduler
  • Equipment Coordinator
  • Field Document Controller
  • Field Scheduler
  • Mechanical & Electrical Managers / Coordinators
  • Environmental Manager
  • Traffic Manager

Consulting roles:

  • Project Manager, Owner’s Representative
  • Civil / Structural Designers / Project Managers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Geotechnical design consultants
  • Cost consultants

Expertise in bridge and highway design/construction is highly sought after to ensure the success of this project.

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will only available to senior personnel (10+ years of similar infrastructure experience), so all other candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

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Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the construction industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.

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Why the best job applicants may not need a cover letter

Do I need a cover letter for my job application? My short answer is: no, unless specifically asked to provide one. The reason is that a cover letter is generally used for an unsolicited online application. Online applications are anonymous cold introductions without any personal touch. Best avoided.

If you have read my blogs you will understand my dislike of unsolicited online applications. Resumes from such applications accumulate in corporate inboxes. They are typically viewed in the batches, often by administrative staff – not the best way to make a solid first impression.

Applying online is not the optimal route. Following this route can strongly suggest that you are unable or unwilling to network your way a personal introduction with a future employer. Why not find a contact to introduce you to the right people? Sitting at home churning through online job applications is a lonely existence and ought to be avoided. With online applications you typically don’t receive confirmation that your resume has been reviewed, nor do you receive feedback on the status of your application or any suggestions on how to improve. You either get called for an interview or you don’t. It’s just black or white. Many large organizations insist on online applications with cover letters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate this front door approach with another more direct way to ensure your resume finds the right person.

Applying online should be your last resort. But what are the alternatives?

Warm introduction

The role of a recruitment agency is often to bridge the connection between you and a company you would like to work for. A good recruiter negates the need for online applications and cover letters. The recruiter’s expertise is to establish a fit between your skills and experience and a potential role. The most favorable approach would be to have a recruiter provide your profile and resume to the hiring manager. Now you can optimize your job application, ensure your resume finds the decision maker, and gain feedback from the process.

Networking

If the company is not working with agencies, then you can do some research, find out who the hiring manager is, and network your way to him or her. Be creative. Find someone who can help you make a connection with the company. Instead of attaching a cover letter to your job application, you could provide a brief email note to this contact person with the following five components:

  • How you got the person’s contact information.
  • A brief summary (3-4 sentences maximum) of your skills, experience, and immigration status (if applicable).
  • What interests you about the company. Show the employer why you are interested by referring to projects, services, personnel, news stories, company values, etc, that have caught your attention.
  • Why you would be a good fit for the role (if a relevant job posting is available). Highlight your understanding of the job requirements and outline your suitability for the role.
  • Close by explaining what action you want the reader to take. For example, you could ask him or her to meet with you for a coffee, take a telephone call, or pass on your resume to HR or the Hiring Manager, as the case may be.

For more advice, read my quick guide to networking in Canada.

If you must write a cover letter. . .

The typical cover letter is focused on the candidate’s work experience and skill set. This information is already mentioned in his or her resume. Don’t repeat yourself. Cover letters can be effective when written well. This means your cover letter focuses on why you are a fit for a specific role or company and how you can add value to the company. A cover letter is the linking document between your skills and experience and the company.

Outpost Recruitment connects talented construction professionals with leading construction employers for civil, infrastructure and ICI buildings projects in Canada. To set up a confidential discussion, call us at 778-861-1244.

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Construction Recruitment: Should I use a recruiter?

Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, has spent five years placing jobseekers with Canada’s top construction and engineering companies in permanent roles. Jobseekers often ask themselves ‘should I use a recruiter?’ In this opinion piece, Ruairi outlines six scenarios where jobseekers should instead apply to companies in those industries directly. As one of the premier construction recruitment agencies in Vancouver, we think their advice can help you.

As a jobseeker, the idea of outsourcing your job search sounds fantastic. The job search often starts with a buzz of excitement and suddenly week or two later, it’s a very different story. Finding employment in Canada is an extremely slow process. Engaging with the right recruiter can help set your expectations, provide you with a trusted advisor and establish a clear strategy. That said, outsourcing your search to a recruiter is not always the best choice.

What are my options?

  • Go it alone – use online jobs boards and personal connections to manage your own job search
  • Engage the right recruiter – seek involvement of a recruitment professional to expand your knowledge of the market and include a wider network of opportunities.

To understand reasons why you should not use a recruiter, it’s important to first examine the reasons why companies will call on a recruitment agency to assist with their hiring.

  • Urgent need – Outsource HR process due to time constraints
  • Hard to find skills – Broaden the reach of HR
  • Convenience – Client is happy to outsource their HR function purely to save time and effort
  • Headhunting – Client use an agency to assist with an approach to a target

When a company pays an agency fee to source talent, they’re paying with the expectation that candidates presented by an agency are going to be of an extremely high quality. For the recruitment agency, this means the candidate must meet and exceed established job requirements

At Outpost Recruitment, we specialize in permanent roles for construction professionals across civil, infrastructure, and buildings projects. Based on five years of experience, we can gauge when a candidate’s chances will be hindered, because the employer is unlikely to want to pay a recruitment agency fee for a jobseeker who has to overcome a significant barrier. If they’re taking the risk of hiring that jobseeker, they want to do it as cheaply as possible, and it’s not in our interest or the jobseeker’s interest to present them to the company.

Here are six scenarios where we will usually advise a jobseeker to approach the company directly.

1. Lack of consistent work experience

When employers use a recruiter, they want a return on investment. Hiring a candidate who has never lasted beyond 2-3 years with a previous employer means this return on investment is less likely to be realized. Sometimes this movement is beyond the candidate’s control but if a candidate has displayed a tendency to “jump around”, then they are not an ideal recruitment candidate for an agency and will be better served directly convincing an employer of their merit.

2. Lack of relevant experience

If your experience level if way off the requirements for years of proven experience, then an employer is not likely to hire you via a recruiter. If you are junior or you are switching role/industry, we often recommend you apply directly. It’s rare that companies will use a recruiter for junior level roles so directly managing your job search is highly recommend for candidates with less than two years of proven experience.

3. Language barrier

Strong communication skills, including working fluency in the local language, are crucial when a company decides to use a recruiter. At Outpost Recruitment, we focus on technical roles so a candidate must have demonstrated their ability to work through English (Note: We are not active in Quebec so we focus on English speaking candidates only). If your written and spoken English is anything less than perfect, then you should consider managing your own job search. A recruitment fee is just another obstacle for you to overcome if you are not the perfect fit in terms of communication skills.

4. Lack of local / western world experience

The local experience paradox. Canada’s aging population desperately needs international workers, but employers crave local experience. If they don’t get local experience, they seek the next best thing which is experience in a similar western economy to Canada. Candidates without this level of experience will typically represent a higher risk to the client.

5. Cultural barrier

We often meet strong international candidates that cannot make a breakthrough because local employers are looking for a long-term candidate that will be a cultural fit in Canada. This is more common outside of the main cities but it is a factor to recognize. Candidates coming from differing cultures will always have a relatively higher settlement risk so we will often suggest that they job hunt directly to improve their chances.

For example, an international candidate coming from Sub-Saharan Africa to Edmonton may have a difficult time convincing an employer they are making the right long-term hire as the employer may be concerned that the candidate may struggle to settle in a dramatically different climate.

6. Immigration barrier

Unlike the Middle East and Australia, gaining employers sponsorship in Canada is extremely difficult and therefore not very common. Canada is a resource-driven economy so when commodity prices are low the demand for international workers in the economy will drop. If you need immigration assistance, it will dramatically reduce your attractiveness to a Canadian employer, so this presents yet another obstacle to finding employment. For these reasons, we rarely present candidates that require immigration assistance unless they are all-stars with extensive estimating or senior management experience.

Benefits of using a construction recruitment agency in Vancouver

On top of the points outlined above, you might still be unsure of the inherent benefits that come from using a dedicated construction recruitment agency like Outpost Recruitment in Vancouver. Honestly, we understand why you may have some reservations but benefits do exist. If you feel like the above six points don’t apply to you and you want to give yourself the best chance of finding a job that you’ll thrive in in Vancouver then we can help.

There are many benefits to using a construction recruitment agency like Outpost recruitment, some of the primary benefits are as follows:

Construction recruitment agencies have industry insights

While you may think that you know your industry inside-out, the reality is that this is unlikely to be the case, especially if you are making a start in a new city like Vancouver. As construction specialists, Outpost recruitment can offer a range of unique insights to both your sector and the city to ensure that you find the opportunity that best meets your needs. These type of insights can save you time, and increase exposure to other opportunities, as well as salary advice.

Construction recruitment agencies offer exposure for candidates

As well as have a range of experienced and in-depth insights, construction recruitment agencies can provide their candidates with the necessary professional exposure that can ultimately lead to a career rather than just a job. At Outpost Recruitment, we use our decade plus of combined experience in the Vancouver construction industry to give our candidates a little more exposure than they may receive elsewhere. Additionally, in some circumstances, construction recruitment agencies have opportunities which are not always available elsewhere, not to mention that working in partnership can give you a competitive advantage.

Construction recruitment agencies save you time and make you money

If you have ever spent time applying for a job then you will know that it is a full-time position in itself. So, if you want to save yourself time and effort while you search for your dream job in Vancouver then you need to enroll the help of a construction recruitment agency like Outpost Recruitment. On top of that, by working with us we can help you negotiate a starting salary that matches your skill and qualifications.

Need help figuring it out?

If you’re unsure as to whether these apply to you, or would simply like a second opinion, we encourage you to contact us so we can advise you.

We gladly represent jobseekers where it’s possible to do so. And if not, at least you’ll know.

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Top 10 mistakes job seekers make

There are many simple mistakes job seekers make, which can be easily avoided. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains how.

Over five years of working in recruitment, Outpost has gathered lots of anecdotal evidence on what works and what doesn’t when searching for a job. Do you have to use a recruiter? Absolutely not! But while most candidates may be excellent in their specific area of construction, many lack expertise in defining their strengths, managing their job search and their ability to communicate to employers.

1. A weak resume

If you cannot demonstrate your value on paper, then how can you communicate it to an employer in person? I wish I could stress this point enough as failing to put your best foot forward will delay your career progression. Outpost’s core competence in terms of consulting is to help a candidate discover their strengths and communicate them on paper.

READ: Discover the power of a killer resume in Canada

2. Applying online

Applying online is a waste of time, there is always a better way! If you are a job hunter, you need to realize that you can network your way to find a useful contact with almost any company you wish. Use a recommended recruiter or LinkedIn to get to the decision maker instead of your resume being one of 200 on a pile. Seek to differentiate yourself!

See online job postings as the tip of the iceberg. Not all open opportunities get posted. You are missing a trick if you relying on the front door along with the crowds. Companies post roles when they can’t find good people via internal means. Being first is everything in your job search so network a better way.

3. Spray and pray

Be selective in where you send your resume. Document each application on a spreadsheet and control where you resume goes i.e. ask your recruiter to seek permission before presenting your resume. Canadian markets are pretty small, so employers talk. Focus on quality not quantity when making job applications. Believing that job hunting is a numbers game creates the wrong set of behaviours as you dismiss negative results or lack of results.

Top 10 mistakes job seekers make

4. Misguided expectations

Nobody knows it all. It never hurts to chat to an industry peer to ensure your expectations are in check. Communicate your plans and ask a colleague, industry contact or a recruiter for their candid advice. Ensure you audit your job search tools (resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and your role and salary expectations before you start.

5. General job applications

While being a potential jack-of-all-trades is attractive when you are a junior / graduate keen to make a breakthrough, being undecided on your best role or potentially desperate is not. General job applications are a giveaway sign that you have not performed your research or you are not confident in your skillset. Be specific about what you feel you best role is and target this. Leave it to an employer to ask if you are flexible.

READ: What job titles are used in construction in Canada

6. One resume fits all – Wrong!

Failing to adapt your resume to different regions, different industries and job titles is one of the most critical mistakes job seekers make. Do you want to look like a lazy job hunter or do you want your future employer to feel that you have taken the time to understand the region, industry and job title that you are targeting? Always adapt your resume every time you send it, so it meets the expectations of the specific job posting you’re applying to.

READ: Discover the power of a killer resume in Canada

7. Punching too far above your weight

By all means, be daring and ambitious but also be realistic in terms of applying for jobs you are not qualified to do. Be aware of the difference between being ambitious and grossly under qualified for a role. Applying for roles beyond your skill set and experience will not help morale and the trade off is to spend more time applying for roles that you are qualified for.

8. Not following up!

“I sent him / her an email and he never responded” – Classic job hunters excuse when given a lead for help. Someone has created an obstacle in my path! Understand that your job search is your priority. Take responsibility for the outcome. Ensure you have a way to follow up and get it done. Seek to get a Yes/No from each employer instead of embracing the unknown.

Top 10 mistakes job seekers make

9. Ignoring help/advice

Take all advice on board and seek to understand where it is coming from. Your attitude to critical feedback has a huge determination on the success of your job search and your overall career. Seek feedback and ways to improve your process.

10. Immigration bubble

If a job is posted within Canada and does not welcome international applicants , then it’s fair to assume your chances of success as an applicant without a valid work permit are limited. Ensure you focus your time and energy of researching how to gain a work permit first instead of looking for the needle in the haystack role that can sponsor you. Become your own immigration expert and then you will impress a future employer.

READ: How do I immigrate to Canada?

Find out more

You now know how to avoid the most common mistakes job seekers make. Continue reading our series of blogs, to help you prepare for your career in Canada. Explore our articles now.

Explore the Outpost Recruitment blog

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A quick guide to networking in Canada

If you’re looking to advance your career, then you’ll need to make sure you take full advantage of the opportunities for networking in Canada. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains.

Why do some construction professionals follow a seamless upward path from role to role? How do recruitment agencies know exactly what companies are hiring at the right time? Networking!

Recruiters are professional networkers. Our business is having the right connections and access to all the latest news. Some of the below tips may appear obvious but we are amazed at how people can overlook the simple things.

Here are Outpost Recruitment’s 12 tips to successful networking in Canada.

1. Business cards

Networking in Canada
It’s a no-brainer when you have a job, but every professional should have a business card whether they are employed or not. Don’t fumble with your phone, business cards are critical at creating a solid first impression and building long-term relationships.

Handing out business cards is a self-branding exercise and makes you look professional. If you won’t promote yourself, then nobody will. You can order 100 business cards for around $20 online. It’s a small price to pay for the sake of your career advancement.

2. Do your research

Networking
Identify the companies and recruitment agencies you would like to work for. Ask people for referrals and now you have a starting point. Your job search should start narrow and then gradually widen.

Always do your research before you contact someone and ask for their time/help. Use LinkedIn, Google, their company website and any other resources available to help demonstrate you are motivated to build a relationship.

3. Know the best recruiters

It’s easy! Instead of trying to gather all the appropriate information on a particular market, speak with an industry expert to gather ideas and news. You don’t need to be job hunting to contact a recruiter for help. Keep communication channels open at all times.

4. Know the best people in your industry

Make a point of spending more time with colleagues whose networking skills you admire. Tag along with them to events or simply bring them for lunch and ask them for tips on how to keep up with the market.

5. Informational Interviews

Networking in Canada
One of Canada’s best qualities is how helpful people are. If you are organized, persistent and tactful enough, it’s very likely you can achieve a 20-minute coffee with executive level people in your industry.

Start at the top and work your way down. You may be pleasantly surprised that someone will respond positively if they feel you have something to offer their company.

6. Better still, offer lunch instead of coffee!

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”.

With a little tact and persistence, perhaps you can persuade the person you want to meet to give up a portion of their time with the offer of some food instead of offering a mundane coffee. Everyone’s gotta eat! A small investment to get a busy person’s time.

7. Events for networking in Canada

Networking in Canada
Meet like-minded people, who are keen to learn, discuss industry news and practice their skills when networking in Canada. Dress to impress and arrive early so you can assess the gathering crowd. This step will allow you to watch the dynamics of the room unfold and make some easy new connections to assist you through the sea of strangers.

Are there industry leaders giving a speech at these events? Don’t be shy about approaching them directly for a quick chat. Be respectful of their time, be ready with your business card, and leave the chat having agreed a way to follow-up with them at a later date.

8. Use LinkedIn

Networking in Canada
The ultimate social networking tool but never a substitute for face-to-face networking in Canada. LinkedIn is a great tool when preparing for networking events and maintaining connections.

While connecting on LinkedIn is considered a reasonable follow up, try to take action on interesting contacts by following up and scheduling a time to chat further over the phone, a coffee/drink, or lunch. This one-on-one meeting is an ideal chance to further develop the relationship as being a LinkedIn connection is not very intimate any more!

Set a reminder to follow up with a connection in 2-3 days for essential queries or 2-3 weeks if it’s not urgent. Remember: your priority is to get to know them, so don’t be afraid to follow-up.’

9. Tact and Persistence

Networking tact and persistence
Anyone can make a request once. It takes organization and persistence to ask the second, third and fourth times. Differentiate yourself through being tactful and persistent.

“I contacted Person X and they never got back to me.” This is such a lame excuse, so don’t use it. If you want their help, leave blame and ego behind.

10. Ask and you shall receive

Networking in Canada
Be bold and daring as fortune favours the brave. Be open and upfront with what you are hoping to get from a new contact. State your purpose and you will always get better results. Ask the hard questions instead of assuming the other party knows what your objective is. Always ask for advice, introductions and recommendations on further contacts.

11. Map out your connections

Networking
Draw out your key connections on paper or a spreadsheet so you can visualize who you know and assess who you may need to know (target roles/people/companies). If you are job hunting, this is your job hunting team!

12. Dress to impress

Networking
Canada is considered to be relatively informal in terms of business attire. That said, it’s always better to overdress than underdress.

For networking events, informational interviews and coffee meetings, business casual will suffice but ensure you wear a suit for an interview.

And remember…

Outpost 05_LinkedInCover
Building your network can take time so don’t shy from contacting Outpost Recruitment if you would like to tap into upcoming opportunities, market intelligence or industry outlooks.

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How to create a short, custom LinkedIn profile URL

We all know having a LinkedIn profile is a crucial resource in your job search. But the default LinkedIn profile URL can be long, clunky, and difficult to include on a resume or CV.

Luckily, LinkedIn provides an option for you to create a short, custom LinkedIn profile URL. By default, your URL will be something like: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-regan-245b5b42. But you can change it to something simple, like: www.linkedin.com/in/alanregan. It’s easy to do, and this guide will show you how.

Steps in creating a short LinkedIn profile URL.

1. Go to your profile. 

Login to your account, and click ‘Profile’ from the menu at the top of the screen.

2. Update your public profile settings.

Custom LinkedIn profile URL

Move your cursor over the URL, which appears in the bottom-left of the image above. By default, this will be something clunky, like: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-regan-245b5b42.

When you do this, a little cog will appear beside it. Click on this, and a new page will open.

3. Edit your public LinkedIn profile URL.

Create your custom LinkedIn profile URL 2

On the right-hand side of this new page, you’ll see a box which says ‘Your public profile URL’. Click on the pencil icon beside it.

Your new URL will begin with www.linkedin.com/in/. You get to choose what goes after this, but we recommend a combination of your first name and last name. For example, www.linkedin.com/in/alanregan.

And you’re done!

You can now use this URL on your resume, business cards, or any other document that’s likely to be viewed as a printed file.

We strongly recommend including your LinkedIn profile on your resume. A resume is simply a quick overview of your career history. Your LinkedIn profile gives you the chance to expand on your achievements, and gives employers to learn more about you if they so wish.

It’s important to have a short, custom URL on your resume. Yes, some employers will be viewing a digital file, and can simply click on the long, clunky link, or copy and paste it into their browser.

But many recruiters will be looking at a printed file. If you’re trying to impress them, make their life simple. Don’t give them a long series of random characters to try to type – give them an easy, custom LinkedIn profile URL instead. It shows that you’re keen to impress, and have taken the time to work on your recruitment tools.

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How to use LinkedIn for successful construction networking

It’s not enough to simply exist on social media – you need to know how to use LinkedIn if you want to get the most out of it. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains.

LinkedIn has become a crucial networking, information sharing and personal branding tool for construction and engineering professionals. Ignore it at your peril. Let’s focus on the numerous positives that can come from having an online professional profile.

Why is LinkedIn useful?

LinkedIn allows you to organize your professional connections, build an online presence and leverage common connections with other members of your network.

You can build connections that can assist you in meeting your professional objectives and engage with them. Whether you are searching for a job, keeping up to date on your field or looking to advance your career, learning how to use LinkedIn can help you achieve your goal.

Build rapport — If you’ve seen topical and relevant third-party articles, or have timely opinions on issues in your industry, you can post these on your profile or selected groups. This can help you engage with your existing network, and build new contacts. While it’s good to post often, remember that you should be aiming for quality over quantity.

Industry news — Your news feed will become an information resource for keeping in touch with latest events in your industry. Get involved in industry discussions and see what you can learn! Connect with our Outpost Recruitment group for latest industry news.

Warm introduction — LinkedIn allows you to establish degrees of separation when browsing for target individuals. Instead of a cold invitation to a stranger who does not know you, you may avail of the opportunity to ask a common (2nd degree) connection to introduce you. This is a very powerful networking tool.

Cold introduction — If you wish to be particularly proactive about exploring new opportunities, don’t be afraid to ‘reverse headhunt’. Learning how to use LinkedIn’s search tools means you can do this quickly and effectively. This essentially means identifying suitable companies or individuals to contact directly through the LinkedIn messaging feature. Providing a customized message explaining why you wish to connect is vital. Don’t just send a generic request, show them you have taken the time to study their profile.

Interview Preparation — Learn about the background of the hiring manager you are about to meet. This will help you understand the interview team and prepare some quality questions to ask. You may establish that you have common connections or else mutual interests with your future employers so don’t be shy on doing your research.

How to use LinkedIn to grow your network

Send connection requests to professional contacts once a relationship has been developed. Remind them of how you met if you sense they may not remember you. It’s always better to send a customized message when connected and ensure you follow up once your connection is accepted. Avoid connecting with strangers without sending a clear message on the purpose of connecting with them!

Join LinkedIn groups according to your industry, professional organization and regions to meet other professionals with common interests and keep you up to date on developments in your industry. Our Outpost Recruitment group posts the latest industry and jobs news, so be sure to connect with us to stay up to date.

Add a LinkedIn badge to your email signature. This will encourage people you are emailing to connect with you.

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Success Tips

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for promoting your career interests, so ensure you maintain a complete profile and communicate a positive, professional online image. First impressions last. Like most tools, keep in mind the expression “Garbage in, garbage out!”

A concise heading and title is important. These two parameters are crucial, and it’s important that you convey the appropriate message to viewers. For example, if you are job hunting, you can convey that by stating you are “seeking new opportunities in . . . ” on your profile.

Recommendations are handy, so ask colleagues, direct supervisors and happy clients to endorse your work as this greatly enhances your professional image, especially if you are job searching.

You can also use a LinkedIn request as a subtle way to nudge someone you have recently contacted. Instead of following up by email, send them a connection request and send your follow up email at a later date.

How to build a LinkedIn profile to impress

Professional photo — A high-resolution professional photo adds personality to your profile. A cropped image of you standing next to someone else at a dinner party, graduation photos or grainy historical images do not help your personal branding!

Clear objectives — Similar to your CV/resume, your profile should include a personal summary that is clear and concise. Who are you looking to network with? What types of roles interest you?

Relevant detail — Provide as much detail as possible about your results and achievements during your current and previous roles. Highlight a basic scope of each project you have worked on so anyone can visualize the tasks and your involvement.

Keyword loading — Optimizing your profile for searches is critical. Loading your profile with keywords associated with your desired role will return your profile in searches by recruiters. If you do not want your desire for a new role to be blatant, it is a good idea to embellish your profile with subtle keywords such as ‘seeking’, ‘opportunities’ and ‘new challenges’. Otherwise, being explicit with the fact that you are actively looking will attract the attention of hirers.

Increase your visibility — Joining relevant groups and being active in group discussions can increase your footprint within industries and can drive traffic to your profile. You’ll quickly discover this is how to use LinkedIn in a way that attracts interest in you.

Custom URL — By default your public link to your profile may contain a lengthy URL that looks like “tr.linkedin.com/pub/johnadams/70/887/b01/”. Ensure you shorten the URL if you would like to place this link on your resume or signature. See our How to create a short, custom LinkedIn profile URL guide for instructions.

Best of luck with your online networking. Don’t forget to connect with my LinkedIn profile and follow Outpost Recruitment.

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Alan Moat.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Alan Moat.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Alan Moat chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Alan Moat – Construction Project Manager in CanadaAlan Moat: Construction Project Manager Canada

Alan grew up in Birmingham, England. In 1992, he graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Civil Engineering.

He has worked in a variety of roles related civil and structural engineering design and construction, predominantly in the railway sector.

Alan was a CEng MICE in the UK and whilst he gained his PEng APEGBC equivalent when he moved to Canada, Alan is now a Construction Project Manager with his PMP designation from the Project Management Institute.

After moving to Canada in 2006, Alan was employed as a Construction Project Manager in Canada with SNC Lavalin for 10 years. In 2015, Alan joined Parsons as an Area Manager in B.C. overseeing the Roads & Structures group.

He is based in Vancouver and has worked on the Canada Line and Evergreen Line rapid transit projects for four years each, with the two years between spent on bidding projects across North America.

He is married and has a six-year old daughter and two-year old son.

When he’s not delivering complex transit projects, Alan enjoys mountain biking and road riding, skiing, snowboarding and passing those skills on to his children.

SNC Lavalin is the largest engineering and construction company in Canada and one of the largest in the world with offices in over 50 countries.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

In 2005, I decided I needed a change of scenery.

I’d been working in the railway sector for around seven years, and as a consultant for the last five years.

My engineering and construction skills were transferrable around the world, and I narrowed down my options to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Really, I wanted to move for the lifestyle as much as the work experience, so it had to be somewhere close to the mountains or ocean.

I’d been on vacation hiking in the Canadian Rockies in 2001, Australia in 2003 and New Zealand south island in 2004 and loved them all, but Australia’s too hot for me, with not enough mountains and there wasn’t much work in New Zealand at the time, so I decided to focus on Western Canada.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I was earning at lot of money for a 30-year-old single guy when working as a contract engineering manager back in the UK.

I took a considerable pay cut to move to Vancouver and take a regular salaried position, so it was definitely a lifestyle decision.

The first position with SNC Lavalin I took was a design manager role which I found easy and something that I’d been doing five years earlier in the UK.

It wasn’t soon before they saw my capabilities and promoted me to the Project Manager responsible for the construction of the three downtown stations on the Canada Line.

What made you choose Vancouver?

I was weighing up the options in Australia and Canada, and when I discovered there was a lot of work in Vancouver ahead of the 2010 Olympics, I focused my efforts on there.

I never gave much thought to Calgary to be honest. I secured a one-year working visa through the exchange scheme, and started contacting employers, including the companies bidding to build the new Canada Line SkyTrain from the airport to downtown.

I applied for a few positions on Olympic projects but didn’t get anywhere. I came out to Vancouver on vacation in the summer of 2005 to walk the west coast trail and dropped into the SNC Lavalin office, and managed to convince the Canada Line Project manager to interview me.

The visit to Vancouver convinced me that this was the place for me and eventually, after a lot of following up, they offered me a job in September 2005. I arrived on December 31, and started work on January 4, 2006.

My advice to anyone seeking employment here is use your initiative, be persistent and don’t give up.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada on my own, along with my mountain bike and snowboard on December 31, 2005.

I met my wife, Nicole, who is Canadian, 18 months later at the Crankworx mountain bike festival in Whistler and we got married in 2012.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Engineering?

My dad was a carpenter and I have always been into building stuff.

I found maths, physics and chemistry easy at school as engineering seemed like a good option for me. I did a general engineering course for the first two years, then after being offered summer work by Mott MacDonald, I decided to chose civil for the last two.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I never really have a long term plan to be honest. I focus on a goal one or two years ahead and revisit that plan regularly as things develop.

If I’m not happy I change direction until I am happy.

The two big changes I made to my career path were to work as a consultant in 2000 which worked out great and earned me a lot of money and secondly moving to Canada.

Working as a consultant enabled me to make the jump from the design consultant side to the construction contractor side, which suits me better to be honest.

The Canada plan came out of the blue to a certain extent.

I was working in Liverpool on the Merseytram Project and wasn’t really enjoying the project or the city. That was the push I needed to move abroad and as they say the rest is history.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for Mott MacDonald for six years after university.

This included spells in the Birmingham design office, the London Project Management office and seconded to a contractor for a year.

Most of the work involved designing, inspecting, building bridges.

I got my CEng in 1997 and I was headhunted by Atkins Rail in 1998.

From then on I’ve worked exclusively on heavy and light rail projects.

At the end of 2000 I decided to quit Atkins Rail and work as a consultant, in initially this was for Atkins Rail and then for Carillion as Design Manager or Engineering Manager on a series of West Coast Mainline upgrade and remodeling projects.

My last role was contract with Parsons Brinkerhoff as a section project manager on the ill fated Merseytram project in Liverpool which was cancelled two weeks after I quit late in 2005.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. If I hadn’t managed to arrange a job before the last date to start my visa (December 31, 2005) I would have moved here anyway and tried to secure something when I arrived.

Worst case, I’d have been a ski bum or a bike mechanic for a year.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was lucky enough to be able to negotiate a contract that included a housing allowance for two months and SNC Lavalin arranged an apartment for me.

The rest was pretty easy to be honest. The extra baggage for a single guy isn’t much. Preparing for the move well in advance is the trick.

Just make sure you are organized and can redirect all your post to someone in the UK you can try to help manage it for you while you are away.

I’m lucky enough to have my mum to do this for me and she still does a great job for me.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move, but there are a lot of expats in Vancouver so you’ll soon make contacts if you out yourself out there.

I had a couple of friends in Vancouver before I moved here which made life easier to settle in and I quickly made some good business contacts at work and some good friends who I’m still friends with ten years later.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between being a Construction Project Manager in Canada and the UK?

The role was initially similar to work I’d done as a design manager in the UK, however it soon changed to a very different role as a construction Project Manager, which was new to me.

Aside from that engineering and construction is the same the world over and with no language barrier, the transition was easy.

The level of pressure is a bit lower in Canada as the working environment is a lot more collaborative and generally everyone wants to help and push in the same direction.

Initially I had a lot more spare time but after a couple of years I had about the same amount as I had in the UK. However of course I now have so many more fun things to do with my spare time!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

The working environment here is fairly similar to the UK, though maybe a little bit more laid back and there is less pressure to work long hours.

The construction working environment is definitely less confrontational which is good in general, but sometimes gets in the way of getting issues brought to a head and resolved quickly.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers looking to be a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

It can be tough for newcomers if they have no experience here. Priority is given to local graduates.

However, if you have experience, skills and can sell yourself then you should be able to get a job in the industry.

Use your contacts if you have them and use agencies.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I’ve got kids now, but I remember in my first five years I’d go snowboarding with some mates after work.

In less than an hour of leaving my desk I’d be hitting the powder on the north shore mountains until they closed at 10pm.

Whistler is less than two hours away at weekends too. When I first moved here I did a lot of hiking, climbing and mountaineering and there’s countless mountains to be scaled and backcountry camping to be had only a few hours out of the city.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Throw yourself in 100pc. Don’t expect Vancouverites to come up to you and make friends.

You have to put yourself out there. It helps if you are a biker/hiker/skier/boarder or have some other interest as there are a lot of like minded people to meet here.

Canadians are the friendliest people in the world, but they are a little difficult to get to know sometimes.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

Yes, absolutely. The BC licence plates don’t say the ‘Best Place on Earth’ for nothing.

I’ve been here for ten years now and I’ll never leave. Apart from the house prices in Vancouver it’s the perfect place to bring up a family and very safe.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are a Construction Project Manager and expect to get everything done before you leave work at the end of the day, then you’re in the wrong job.

Never expect to get everything done, else you’ll be constantly stressed.

The art of being a Construction Project Manager is to keep 100 balls in the air and don’t drop any. You’ll always have a list of 100 things to do and your job is to prioritize those things. As soon as you do one, two more will be added to the list.

Live with it and make sure the important things are done before you leave.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

Get some good experience back home first.

Get varied experience also. Don’t just do one thing for the first five years of your career else before you know it you are pigeon-holed.

Develop a great resume and you’ll be in big demand as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Follow Alan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada like Alan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps jobseekers

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How can I be a Construction Estimator in Canada? Our career profile of Stephan Blank.

Curious about a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Stephan Blank.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Stephan Blank chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Estimator in Canada.

Stephan Blank, Construction Estimator CanadaStephan Blank – Construction Estimator in Canada

I am a Senior Construction Estimator in Germany but worked in Canada for 10 years after relocating to Vancouver. I was an Estimator in Canada at Bouygues and Kinetic Construction and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Canada before returning home in 2017.

I am a single dad of an amazing daughter and construction professional of 22 years.

I am a former current Chair of the Under 40 Professionals at the Vancouver Construction Association and I am training to finish my first Ironman.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I have traveled almost entire Europe and 2006 Canada was my first destination outside of Europe.

I spent three weeks around Vancouver / Vancouver Island and simply fell in love with this place. Also Canada had just been awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics and it was “construction paradise” at the time which made the decision even easier.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both are equally important and this remains the case.

In Germany, you tend to work hard and don’t really enjoy live as much. What I found here in Vancouver is that you still work hard and you have fantastic opportunities to progress in your career but also you take the time to enjoy live.

What made you choose Vancouver?

The pure beauty of this place, the ocean, the mountains and the nature. Also, you have similar weather conditions to Europe.

Did you move alone?

This was the most difficult part of the decision. I am a single dad, my daughter was nine years old at the time, and I didn’t know how this whole plan would work out.

I left her with my parents for 18 months until I was fully settled in, and then brought her to Vancouver.

It was a hard time, but looking back it was the best decision I made in a long time. Moving to a new country is a bigger deal than people think at first.

I had packed up my bags four times in the first year, and was ready to give up. Today I am very happy that I didn’t, but I’d advise anyone to really think everything entirely through – it really is a very big decision.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I was always fascinated by construction of any kind, so my career choice was quite easy.

I wanted to be a Project Manager, but I wanted to learn the job the proper way and start on the tools. I did my apprenticeship in bricklaying and formwork carpentry, and worked my way up through the ranks as lead hand, foreman, superintendent, and finally became a Project Manager before doing my masters.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

It didn’t. Somehow, I was very lucky and driven, and everything worked out as planned.

Tell us about your career path prior to moving to Canada.

From 1994 to 2006, I worked for a general contractor which specialized in concrete work up to €30 million.

  • 1994 – 1997: Start apprenticeship as bricklayer / formwork carpenter
  • 1998 – 1999: Lead hand
  • 1999 – 2000: Foreman
  • 2001 – 2003: Superintendent
  • 2003 – 2006: Project manager

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Honestly, nothing.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was the language. I didn’t speak a word of English, so I booked a course in a three-month language school in Vancouver.

In the last month, I spoke enough English to apply for a job and go to interviews. Once I secured a job, I rented an apartment and went back to Germany to sell everything in my old place, and three weeks later, I started working in Vancouver.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

The quick answer? Hard work.

My first experience in Canada was anything else than pleasant; a larger formwork contractor here hired me as a project manager.

The week I moved here, I was told they didn’t have a project for me and asked if I could start on the tools for three months.

Once started, I found that the owner had done this with a few more people and that was just the beginning. I got charged a crazy amount of money for my work permit and I was paid less then half what was agreed to in the contract.

I confronted the owner and his response was: “Your work permit is only valid for my company, what do you want to do? Go back to Germany if you don’t like it.”

Exploring my options, I found a great general contractor who was willing to help me.

I signed a job offer with PCL Westcoast in April 2007, but had to wait until October 2007 for the new work permit to arrive.

In this time I was still working on the tools for the first contractor. I worked for four years at PCL as a Construction Estimator and Project Manager and met some great people who helped me grow in this industry.

Moving on, I had good opportunities at Doka Canada and Scott Construction before starting as a Senior Estimator at Bouygues Building Canada.

In this role, I was exposed to Design build and PPP projects valued at over CAD$100 million. Now, I am working as a Senior Estimator for Kinetic Construction, a mid-size general contractor specializing in new construction, tenant fit outs and design build projects.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Germany?

Now as an estimator, I am responsible for securing the work instead of executing the work as project manager back in Germany.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learning the language, and especially all the specific construction terms.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Not really, I am still in construction. The only thing what changed is the actual full time estimating position, which now brings great and exciting new goals that I want to archive.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Estimator in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It depends on the size of the company you choose to work for.

Working for a larger contractor was a far different environment than the family-sized company that I am used to in Germany. That’s probably why I feel very happy working at Kinetic, as it reminds me of the company I worked for back home.

Both the large and the small contractor have advantages and disadvantages. The actual construction environment is quite different in construction methods and quality of work.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

There were really just two: the language and the construction methods.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I asked a lot of questions. Never assume something and never be afraid to ask a question doesn’t matter how silly the question may sound.

How is the work-life balance as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

It’s as balanced as you choose to make it. I tend to focus more on work than free time but it’s definitely possible to have a good work-life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

Great! Canada has not nearly enough professionals for the years to come.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I love all the fun things I can do here. Swimming, mountain biking, hiking, cycling and skiing.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Volunteering to meet some people.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

You never know what the future has in store, but I am sure it will be in Vancouver.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Listen, learn and ask questions. Surround yourself with people in positions you want to be in and learn from them. Go out and network.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

Make a plan and see it through. There will be problems just keep sticking to your plan and don’t give up. Get some help from people like Ruairi.

Follow Stephan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada like Stephan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps jobseekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

Curious about a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Niamh Ní Chróinín chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares her experience in moving to Canada to work as a Senior Estimator and Project Controls Manager in Calgary.

Niamh Ní Chróinín – Senior Estimator / Project Controls Manager in Calgary (Main Contractor)

Niamh Ní Chróinín: Project Controls Manager in CalgaryNiamh Ní Chróinín moved to Canada in February 2014 after working as an Engineer in Ghana, Ireland and London.

She holds a degree in Engineering, an MSc in Construction Law and is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK.

Niamh’s greatest passion in life is playing sports and this was the primary incentive for her to move to Canada. As a child she rode horses, in university she was a Taekwondo Instructor and now she spends most of her free time training with the local swimming club or rock climbing.

Niamh held a dual role of Senior Estimator/ Project Controls Manager in Calgary with Aecon for 3 years before joining Berkley Research Group as a Managing Consultant.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I had been living in London for 6 years – working on the Olympics and Crossrail whilst also completing my MSc and Chartership – when I began to really start hating the place.

I considered moving to Australia but friends who had moved there earlier had told me the market was slowing down. I also considered the Middle East, but I wasn’t sure the lifestyle would suit me. Then, there was Canada. So, I suppose my choice came from choosing the best out of an otherwise bad lot!

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I felt that I had already progressed my career hugely in the past few years but at the expense of what I love most – sports. Canada is renowned for having a great work-life balance and that definitely sold me on the idea of moving there.

What made you choose Calgary?

I didn’t! I wanted to move to Canada and the interview I had was for Calgary. I suppose you could say Calgary chose me!

Did you move alone?

Yes – just me and four suitcases.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study civil engineering?

I actually started studying science (math and physics) in NUI Galway, but quickly realized that I was not suited for a life indoors or teaching (which seemed to be where the job opportunities were at the time).

After two years, I dropped out of science to re-apply for civil engineering. To be honest, I was destined to be a civil engineer – I still have several train and Meccano sets at home that I used to get each Christmas.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

I always had a great love of civil engineering math but when I started working on the Olympics I gained a huge appreciation for the contractual aspect of construction.

In 2010, I went back to obtain an M.Sc. in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution at King’s College London – this is when my path diverged slightly away from Project Management and towards Project Controls.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • B.Eng. NUI Galway: 2006
  • Site engineer (Ghana): 2006
  • Site Engineer (Sisk): 2006-2008
  • Junior Design Engineer (Oran Precast): 2007
  • Site Engineer, Olympics (Bam Nuttall): 2007-2009
  • Section Engineer, Olympics (BAM Nuttall): 2009-2010
  • Sub Agent/ Bid Manager (BAM Nuttall): 2010-2012
  • Project Manager (Dragados Sisk, Crossrail): 2012-2014
  • C.Eng. (MICE): 2013
  • M.Sc. Construction Law and Dispute Resolution: 2013
  • Moved to Canada: 2014

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada before you became a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very little. To be completely honest I was motivated to move to Canada purely because it meant I was getting out of London. I had spent years working long hours, giving up weekends and social events for work. I didn’t even consider career progression – I was very happy just to sit at whatever rank I was at – I just wanted to get my life back.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was very lucky. My company organized everything for me: my flights, the apartment I was to stay in for the first few weeks, my visa and moving any furniture I wanted to bring.

The biggest challenge for me was moving back to Ireland from London and then further on again. I have to say my company was great and really understood the reality of being so far away from home. My phone was already charged the day I arrived so I could call home and they had already loaded Skype on my work computer so I could call during work hours. It has definitely made the move easier.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have worked in Ghana, West Africa and London as a Civil Engineer.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move (in terms of people I actually knew); however, I am chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in London and they have an outpost here in Calgary called the Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers (CPGCE).

So, once I arrived I was introduced to the liaison officer and started meeting with the group once a month. Additionally, I am in constant contact with my institution in London and my mentors there so to be honest I don’t feel like I am isolated from my professional network or institution. Construction is a very small world.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found this role through a recruitment agency in Ireland.

Initially, they had not offered me this role because I don’t think many people understand what project controls entails. I began to get ‘assertive’ with this agency as I really wanted to move to Canada and asked them to start listing roles in companies they were hiring for. Project Controls Manager in Calgary came up and I knew this was something I wanted to move into more formally.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and in London?

Here in Canada I am managing and supporting a larger area and there is a much bigger appreciation for project controls.

In London, I found that project controls was a good idea and every major project had a department but there was a disconnect between it and the operations side.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

I had worked in project controls before but if I could do it again I would spend some more time reviewing the terminology.

It wasn’t a big deal but I did spend the first few weeks trying to align how things in Canada worked versus Ireland or the UK.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Well there are definitely more opportunities for career progression here in Canada and the companies are a lot bigger than those I am used to. To be honest I don’t really have an objective as such – I’m still learning every day and I like being a Project Controls Manager in Calgary because it is so versatile.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

I think the working environment here is different. It’s not as adversarial as at home and to be honest, I kind of liked it at home because you could be completely honest if you had reservations about something.

Here, it’s very defined and you have to stick to the chain of command and sometimes I find that difficult.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

  1. Legislation: I was more than familiar with the UK and Ireland in terms of H&S legislation and contractual mechanisms. I was a bit deflated having to re-learn such systems and I am still learning them.
  2. The roles and responsibilities of teams members: Definition of a site engineer isn’t really the same as at home, nor is foreman so I was getting confused putting tenders together as sometimes I didn’t have the required workforce.
  3. The lingo: Schedule = programme; letter of credit = unconditional bond; rock truck = moxi; ride = lift. I have a list on my desk at work so I don’t unintentionally insult someone during a conversation!

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Honestly I really didn’t have to do anything. My colleagues made me feel at home from the first day. There were lunches and drinks organized with the various teams so I could meet everyone and I was sent to our head office in Toronto 2 weeks later to meet my counterparts there.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very good but as with any other job you are in charge of it. If you want to work 24/7 companies will welcome it. Here, I feel it is not expected as much as it was in the UK or Ireland.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The sky’s the limit in terms of career prospects for both my role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary, and the industry.

One thing I do find that’s different here is that age doesn’t seem to be a problem so you won’t be held back just because you might be a bit younger. If you show talent and enthusiasm there will be nothing in your way from progressing.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

For the most part, I am home at 5:30pm and the whole evening is my own. Actually, for the first few weeks here it was nearly lonely because I was home so early.

But now I have joined several clubs and I am doing some kind of activity every evening. Also, I love the mountains. Calgary is a city but nothing like London so I feel a lot more comfortable here having come from the countryside (County Clare) than I did in London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

I went out, joined clubs, made friends and bought a massive winter jacket!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I am afraid to answer this! I love Ireland and I will always want to move home regardless of where I am. So to answer positively I will say:

  • I am applying for my Permanent Residency.
  • I have made loads of friends and I find the majority of Canadians are very similar to the Irish.
  • I am enjoying travelling around Canada and the U.S.
  • I am definitely enjoying playing loads of sports again.
  • The weather does not bother me – as a matter of fact I love winter.
  • Could I settle here? Yes.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

I have received this advice several times and even recently when I was dealing with a sensitive matter.

The advice is: be decisive. Weigh up the issues, use your judgment and make a decision. 80% of the time or more, you will be right.

As for the other 20%, at least you will have made a decision when others wasted time. The 80% will carry you through.

One colleague even told me to read about when Alex Ferguson dropped Jim Leighton as Manchester United goalkeeper, and I have zero interest in soccer but I did read it. It highlighted the importance of decision making. You will not expand your career unless you can rise above the rest, make decisions and accept whatever consequences there may be.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Every day is a school day, be humble and continue learning.

Project controls is a growing field with several niche areas, you need to have a good grasp of everything from finance, tendering, contractual matters, project management, working with and managing people and scheduling to name a few.

More often than not, for this role we pick those based on enthusiasm and train them to suit the role. Not everyone can juggle all these tasks. Be open to new challenges and show an interest in all of the aforementioned topics.

Follow Niamh’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary like Niamh?

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How can I be a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Our career profile of Dave Green.

Curious about a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Dave Green.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up, Dave Green chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada.

Dave Green: Commissioning Consultant CanadaDave Green – Commissioning Consultant in Canada, Buildings

David is originally from London, England and he has 30 years of experience in the construction industry. David is a UK Chartered Engineer Member of CIBSE and a member of ASHRAE.

He is also one of only a few holders in Canada of the ASHRAE Commissioning Process Management Professional designation. David relocated his wife Linda and his three sons Jake, Finn and Cade from Toronto to Edmonton in December 2012, to commence CDML on a new journey in Alberta.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I am lucky in that I’ve been to Canada before – I first visited way back in the late 80s and early 90s, when I learned about the quality of life, standard of living and the opportunities that Canada holds if you work hard for it. Canada is a country that rewards hard work and that was a big factor in my decision to come back here.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Career progression – being given the opportunity to start a department for an established organization was a huge factor in my decision. The lifestyle was also important as I have small children who deserve to grow up in a safe environment.

What made you choose Toronto?

The job opportunity was in Toronto, with travel nationwide.

Did you move alone?

I moved my whole family – my wife and my two children (at the time – we have subsequently had another child) all came with me.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Building Services?

Many years ago, my father took me to the library and told me that I needed to study a trade and that was the end of the conversation! At that point, any thoughts I had of being a footballer or a rock star were ended. Do I regret that advice? Not at all – I love what I do and always have; I am lucky that no matter where we have lived, I can drive around with the kids and they can see some of ‘Daddy’s’ buildings, which makes me feel very proud of my contribution to the country.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I always thought that I would be a technical engineer/project manager solving other peoples’ problems. I never imagined that today, I would be the part owner of 20-person strong commissioning and digital manuals company. Never thought that I would enjoy meeting clients and creating opportunities much more than I ever liked technical engineering…. it’s funny how coming to Canada really got me out of, what I guess you could say, was a bit of a rut.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

After being an apprentice Engineer for five years for Mathew Hall in London UK, I progressed from being a drafter to a designer, to an engineer to Project Manager and now, Company Director.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

I always knew the career prospects were good, especially given that I came here in early 2009 when things were looking pretty bleak around the world. It was all down to me to make the most of the opportunity that was handed to me, and I like to think that I have done just that.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

To prepare for the move, I rented our house in the UK, packed up what we wanted to bring and sold the rest. The biggest challenge in moving to Canada is that you are coming here as an immigrant (not as an expat). So you’re basically starting a new life on a fresh page…things like credit rating and car insurance are zero when you arrive and you need to be aware of this and factor it in when you move.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have lived and worked in Canada before.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move – I have created it over the past five years. However, it’s a pretty easy place to work and people are receptive to what I have to say. Having a ‘funny’ accent is also a bonus as it makes you memorable.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found my original position through answering an advertisement in the CIBSE Journal; within a few months I was not only responsibility for the department but also had a separate company. Today I am part owner of that company – it has been some roller coaster ride over the past five years.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and the UK?

The UK has a very mature construction industry compared to Canada. Canada has a lot of growing up to do when it comes to constructing buildings, especially iconic ones. However, this just means opportunity for someone with my knowledge and experience – this is the way I have always looked at it.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare for life as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Personally I don’t think there was anything I could have done prior to my move to prepare, but for someone else I would totally recommend understanding the provincial engineering regulations and what your qualifications may mean to the provincial bodies. Forewarned is forearmed – you may avoid disappointment and heartache if you do your research and understand the system.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Completely – when I first arrived, I was starting a department. Now, I am running a company and my objective now is to have a CDML Consulting Ltd. office in every province.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

We have tried to create a very European-like, open environment within the CDML offices, which is completely different from the usual North American culture of cubicles. The traditional working environment in Canada is completely different to the UK and this is probably the biggest challenge immigrants will face. We have deliberately tried to make CDML a great environment to work and grow your career in without too many rules. The best description I can give you is that it’s an entrepreneurial environment.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

Cultural differences, travelling distances and lack of understanding of building services engineering and commissioning.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Personal and professional development courses.

How is the work-life balance as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

My work life balance is pretty good, although I work hard as it is my company. The commute to my office is 15 minutes each way or 20 minutes by public transport; this really helps with my work life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The career prospects here are excellent; there is a serious lack of skilled people here which makes it the land of opportunity, if you are prepared to work hard for it.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

Standard of living is very high and the pace of life is slow compared to London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Stop converting from to dollars to pounds – it is counter productive as you are paying taxes at a much lower rate here.

Try to assimilate as much as you can into understanding the Canadian culture and way of doing things – it is pretty unique… a bit like the UK used to be in the early 80s. There’s a naivety and I really like it. Also, my advice is to work at it everyday.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I do see Canada as a long-term home. I have bought a house in Edmonton and my kids are settled in school here. It’s a safe place for them to grow up with lots of opportunities.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be the best you can be, learn from your mistakes and never let the past dictate your future.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Soft skills are just as important, if not more, than technical knowledge. The power of communication should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to defusing a potentially difficult technical situation.

Follow Dave’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada like Dave?

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How can I be a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Fergal Duff.

Curious about a career as a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Fergal Duff.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up in the series, Fergal Duff chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative).

Fergal Duff – Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative)

Project Manager in Calgary

Fergal grew up on a farm in County Laois, Ireland. In 2000, he graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Architecture. He has worked in a variety of roles related to real estate development in many countries across the world.

While still a chartered Architect, Fergal is now a full-time professional Project Manager in Calgary and since moving to Canada in 2012, he was employed as a Director with Pivotal Projects before setting up his own consulting practice, Vision Development Management.

He is based in Calgary but works on projects for clients across Canada. He is married and has a one-year old daughter. When he’s not delivering complex development projects, Fergal enjoys being a parent, driving, mountain-biking and snowboarding.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

Canada became a destination very suddenly and unexpectedly. In 2012, my wife and I had been living in Doha, Qatar for several years and had no immediate plans to leave. In March of that year, we got married in Houston, Texas, where my wife is from. We had invited my old boss, who had relocated to Canada. On the morning of our wedding he emailed me to say he couldn’t make it but asked if I’d be interested in joining his new team, saying: “Something to think about when you’re walking down the aisle.” Throughout that day, our guests asked us what our future plans were and we replied that we would probably stay in the Middle East, at least until my US Green Card was approved and then we would see. However, within a few months of going back to Doha, we decided the opportunity in Canada could not be declined. We arrived in Calgary in late October 2012, so it all happened quite quickly.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

The work experience I gained in Doha over a relatively short time cannot be surpassed. When I left Doha I was the Project Manager on a $2.6 billion mega project – an opportunity that rarely comes along. So, the decision to move to Canada was definitely made due to lifestyle and culture. Speaking as a European, even though it is quite a progressive country there is very limited freedom in Qatar. As a non-Arabic speaking, foreign worker, it is also a frustrating environment to live and work. Canada seemed like a good compromise between my cultural expectations and my wife’s American, yet socially liberal, sensibilities.

What made you choose Calgary?

In all the research we did about the Canadian economy while making our decision, Alberta seemed like the safest bet from an economic perspective. I was still bruised from the experience of the Global Financial Crisis and an economy closely linked to the energy industry was familiar, in terms of our experience in Qatar and our links to Houston. Initially, when we started seriously talking with Pivotal about a possible move to Canada, the likely destination was Edmonton. In the end, Calgary was chosen for us because of the projects that were in the pipeline here. It turned out to be a very good cultural fit. My wife’s parents recently moved to Colorado, so now we are in the same time zone, which helps communication.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada with my wife in October 2012 and our daughter was born just under a year later. I have family in Toronto, but that was not a factor in our decision to move to Canada. 

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Architecture?

I have always been very creative and I felt that I needed a more artistic outlet than what engineering could offer me. In fact, I remember doing a career guidance test which recommended either Art or Engineering as a career choice, so Architecture seemed like a logical compromise in university. My older sister is also a very talented architect and established her own firm shortly after registration. She was definitely an influence on my initial career choice.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I was a good student and always did well in college, but I was never fully committed to the design aspect of the practice of Architecture. I was more interested in the implementation and delivery side and I always got along well with clients, who responded well to my no-nonsense approach. This eventually resulted in my being hired by an Australian client as a Development Manager and Design Director. I was always surprised by the number of consultants engaged on Australian projects and architects generally did a fairly ordinary job of coordinating and managing them all. It was in this role – as a Owner Representative – that I was first introduced to the concept of Project Management as a separate profession; it made sense to me.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for a successful design firm in Dublin for a few years before a mini-recession in late 2001 prompted a move to Australia in 2002. I briefly worked in Singapore as an architect on a sub-way extension and then settled in Sydney until late 2007. In that time, I moved around different architectural firms fairly frequently before joining a small boutique development company. I moved back to Ireland and gave architecture another go, joining one of the largest firms in the country in 2008. A second, somewhat more serious recession provoked my move to Doha, Qatar in 2009 where I reinvented myself as a Project Manager. In Doha, I made a significant investment in training to get my PM credentials up to speed with my experience. Later, I enrolled in an executive MBA with the Manchester Business School (Dubai), which has been an enormous benefit to my career.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. I would not have done it any other way.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I negotiated a contract that included a generous allowance to cover our moving expenses and accommodation for the first month after our arrival. Even still, we had about nine suitcases, which were a challenge on the flight transfers! Pivotal’s HR department was very supportive in helping us get set-up, otherwise.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t quite have a professional network prior to my move, but a few contacts – including, most significantly my boss, who had made the same trip about 12 months before me, so that was a great help. I inherited an extensive professional network when I joined Pivotal at work on my second day in Canada.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Qatar?

The role is similar although given the difference in scale of projects, the work is done by a smaller project management team so everyone has to be a generalist. In Doha, I managed a team of up to 48 specialized professionals on a single project. In Canada, I have five others on my team and we manage multiple projects concurrently. The level of pressure is much lower in Canada as the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary is a lot more collaborative and not as politicized. I have about the same amount of spare time, but infinitely more choices of what to do with it.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

Culturally, the working environment here in Canada is a huge improvement over the working environment in the Middle East. I definitely don’t feel like an outsider or an expat here. The optimism reminds me of Australia in the mid-2000s. However, I believe Calgary is unique in that it is very business friendly and feels like a small town, particularly in the real estate and development industry. A lot of deals are built off relationships and networking activity.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Manager in Calgary?

Climate has been generally challenging but not to my role per se…

  1. I was very suspicious of people when I first arrived from the Middle East. It is difficult to explain the effect of spending over four years feeling like you could get fired and deported any day. It took me a while to realize that Canadians are as trustworthy and honest as they are friendly.
  2. The proclivity of developers to engage contractors on construction management contracts was surprising. There is great deal of trust between clients and contractors that I haven’t experienced before. There is always a place for CM contracts, but it would not be my default recommendation.
  3. It has been challenging to deal with some of the financial aspects of moving to Canada, particularly the access to finance as a temporary resident, despite a healthy salary.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I listened a lot. I have a lot of international experience but I felt it was a good idea to learn as much as I could from the people around me. I attended as many networking events and got introduced to a lot of people the industry. This has been very valuable, especially in the context as a Project Manager in Calgary.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Manager in Calgary?

It’s fairly good. Obviously it all depends on the workload in any given week but in general I feel like I have enough spare time and lots of interesting options for spending the time.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

At the moment I would encourage anyone with good prospects to consider moving to Alberta. I’d rate the prospects to be reasonable. I know that we struggle to find experienced candidates when we have an open position. Unfortunately we compete with the energy industry for good PM’s. Oil and Gas companies  seem to have deeper pockets but they tend to be more volatile and have less interesting projects, so we differentiate on the basis of culture, creativity and stability.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The people and the landscape are what make Canada a wonderful place to live. It is one of the safest places I’ve lived and I can’t think of a better environment for my children.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

It didn’t take much in fairness, but we made a decision at the outset that we wanted to live close to the city if possible. We felt that settling in suburbia would have limited our ability to have a good social life and to integrate successfully into Canadian life.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

We have no reason to think otherwise. I don’t see us moving back to Ireland, but if an amazing opportunity came up in the States or somewhere in mainland Europe, I think we would give it serious consideration in a few years.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

“It is better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.”

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Do your research. Trust professionals to give you important advice, not Facebook pages. Present yourself honestly and in the best possible light you can. Make a memorable first impression. If you have the qualifications and experience, it is only a matter of time and flexibility.

Follow Fergal’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Manager in Calgary like Fergal?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps jobseekers

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Our career profile of Colin Rigney.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Colin Rigney.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In this article, Colin Rigney chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with a Main Contractor.

Colin Rigney – Construction Project Manager in Edmonton, Buildings (Main Contractor)

Colin Rigney - Construction Project Manager EdmontonHaving relocated to Canada in 2011, Colin was a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with Clark Builders for 4.5 years before joining Chandos in 2016.

Colin previously worked as a Contracts Manager with John Paul Construction in Dublin. Colin has three small children (one true Canadian) ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old. Before life with children he was an avid scuba diver and loved to travel.

He enjoys all types of sports and since moving to Canada, he has taken up curling and plays in a rookie league in the local curling club during the winter months. During the summer he enjoys a lot of long weekends away camping with friends.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

When I was trying to decide where to move (during April through June of 2011), I considered several places such as:

  1. London: My view was that this market would take a nosedive after the 2012 Olympics. In addition, I didn’t fancy the long commutes in London.
  2. Middle East: I was not interested in moving my family to a country where women were treated as second-class citizens and was not interested in leaving my family in Ireland and seeing them every couple of months. Further, the Libyan and Syrian civil war had commenced and riots had just started in Bahrain.
  3. Australia: At the time, we were hearing that future growth in Australia was in jeopardy. Also, from a distance perspective Australia seemed too far for parents/siblings/friends to be able to travel to see us on a regular basis.
  4. Canada: My wife and I visited Edmonton for a week in June 2011 and it was then that we decided that we were going to move to Canada primarily due to:
    • Clark Builders and the overwhelming welcome that we received;
    • Friendliness of the people in general;
    • It was a place that we really could see ourselves living in and where we could raise our children;
    • Endless opportunities here for the entire family;
    • Perceived similar culture to Ireland; and
    • Closer distance to Ireland than Australia.

Finally we moved to Canada in September of 2011.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both formed an important part in the decision-making process but quality of life was definitely more important to us.

What made you choose Edmonton?

We had never heard of Edmonton until we started talking with Clark Builders. Clark Builders’ head office is based in the city, and this is where my job offer from Clark as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton came from, so the choice was made for us!

Did you move to Canada alone?

No – my wife, my two young children and I moved to Canada together. My wife and I had always agreed that we would stay together as a family unit wherever we decided to go. We were not interested in the family staying at home and me travelling abroad to work.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I had always been interested in construction from a young age. My primary qualification is a degree in Civil Engineering from UCD.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Not really much apart from the fact that I am now living and working in a different country – this was not part of the original plan!

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • BE UCD (1997)
  • Site Engineer John Paul Construction (1997)
  • Site Engineer Noonan Construction (1998)
  • Senior Engineer John Paul Construction; completed a part time Diploma in Trinity College in Project Management at the same time (1998)
  • Construction Project Manager, John Paul Construction (2000)
  • Contracts Manager, John Paul Construction (2008)
  • Moved to Canada (2011)

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton?

I had secured a job with Clark Builders before we moved over; however, coming to a new country I knew that I would have to take step backward in order to move forward.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Lots of research on the Internet and as well, Clark Builders were also a huge help. We came over to meet with Clark Builders before they made us an offer and before we decided to move. Clark Builders organised a number of appointments for us during this week including a meeting with a mortgage broker and a realtor who showed us a number of properties.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I had worked in  New Jersey, USA for 4 months on J1 Student VISA.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

None, apart from the contacts we had in Clark Builders.

Your professional development as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton

How did you find your current role?

I was approached by a recruiter in Ireland who was recruiting on behalf of Clark Builders.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Ireland?

  • The majority of prime contracts here in Canada are either Construction Management or Lump Sum contracts, whereas most contracts in Ireland are based on BOQs (Bill of Quantities) and are typically re-measurable. I have personally not come across BOQs here in Edmonton.
  • Relationships, roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements are quite different on Construction Management contracts.
  • The project management (PM) role here is a lot more financially orientated and financially hands-on with primary responsibility for compilation and issuance of budgets and forecasts etc. to clients/owners and internal company reporting. Most of this role is fulfilled by a quantity surveyor (QS) in Ireland whilst the PM will manage the overall process; the PM will review the budgets and forecasts but not actually produce them.
  • The majority of subcontracts are lump sum and most PM’s will typically tender and award each subcontract package themselves.
  • Winter construction and seasonal work in Alberta means you take on a big learning curve and is something that we don’t deal with in Ireland. We typically don’t pour concrete in Ireland below +5 degree Celsius; we pour concrete in Alberta into the high minus teens!

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learn Canadian! We had done a lot of preparation and research and suppose the only thing to do next, was actually move and grab the bull by the horns and go for it!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It is similar to Ireland in the boom years – good positive and dynamic environment to work in.

What are the main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  1. Adjust to a new company’s management style and expectations.
  2. Big learning curve on the financial reporting and forecasting side of things
  3. Winter Construction
  4. Subtrade scope delineation is somewhat different.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Asking my colleagues plenty of questions!

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

I would guess that work-life balance in the construction industry in general is not good but it is also my view that this is really dependent on two key drivers:

  1. Company Ethos
  2. Personal Preference and Time Management

Clark Builders promote a good work-life balance and I personally have always maintained a good work-life balance – work to live rather than live to work!

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The construction industry is booming here in Alberta so there is a lot of potential to gain some great experience for future career growth. Also, there will always be construction in some part of the world!

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The genuineness of the people, the Rockies, camping (hard-core tenting style), Alexander Keith’s (Canadian beer) and curling!

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Get out there, get acquainted and make friends and get a good babysitter!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

That is the Million Dollar Question… who knows what the future holds?

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are going to do something, do it with a smile or it will take all the good out of it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

I will answer this in terms of Construction Project Managers looking to relocate to Canada;

  • Come with an open mind and be prepared to take a step back for a year or so until you adapt to the PM role here in Canada. This will also probably be reflected in your initial offer in terms of starting salary.
  • There is a good contingent of Irish people and other nationalities now living and working in Canada. Reach out and connect – you will generally know someone who knows somebody who can give good advice about a company you are dealing with or an area that you are looking to relocate to. LinkedIn is a good resource for this.
  • Be prepared to make some lifestyle changes as it may take up to 18 to 24 months or so to become financially stable; this is very much dependent on personal circumstances. There are a lot of initial out-lay costs which is inherently associated with any major relocation.

Follow Colin’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton like Colin?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps jobseekers

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How can I be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Our career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

Curious about a career as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Eoghan Hayes chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Eoghan Hayes – Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Mechanical Engineer in Canada: Eoghan HayesEoghan moved to Vancouver from Ireland in 2007.

In 2005, he graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street, with a degree in Building Services Engineering and a Diploma in Electrical Services Engineering.

Since moving to Canada, Eoghan has gained extensive consulting experience in mechanical HVAC and plumbing design and building computer energy simulation, before setting up his own consulting company in 2014.

Eoghan believes the industry today is designing backwards and his business addresses the needless divide between mechanical HVAC design and energy modelling simulation.

His consulting firm, Ions Engineering, integrates these functions and combined as part of his approach to the integrated design process ensuring the building energy systems perform in reality as they have been modeled and designed.

Eoghan has demonstrated significant cost and energy saving results using energy modeling as a design tool throughout his career.

When Eoghan is not pushing the boundaries to come up with new innovative ways of saving energy he enjoys running, reading and socializing and spending time with his girlfriend.

Your move to Canada

I moved to Canada on December 13, 2006 with two college friends.

My friends and I had previously traveled on J1 visas to Boston. We decided to go to Vancouver as everyone seemed to be going to Australia and we wanted to go somewhere different. We wanted to go somewhere that had a summer (so that we could lie on the beach) and a winter where there was snow.

Our plan was to come to Canada for a year and then go to Australia for year and then move home to Ireland. Eight years later and phase two of the plan has yet to be implemented!

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

I completed an honours degree in Building Services Engineering in DIT Bolton Street in 2005 and a diploma in Electrical Services engineering in DIT Kevin Street two years prior.

Prior to traveling to Canada I wanted to get some work experience in engineering at home as I knew it would be easier to secure employment abroad with experience, versus just coming over right out of college. I worked at home for 18 months prior to moving to Canada.

Working in construction in Ireland from 2005 to 2006 was great as I was able to gain valuable experience in the workplace that you just don’t get in an educational environment.

This included working with some great architects and engineers and getting to know how the construction business in Ireland operated; in addition, I got to use both of the educational qualifications which I was not able to do once I moved to become a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

In Vancouver, engineering consultancies do not have combined teams of electrical and mechanical engineers; teams either focus solely on mechanical or electrical design.

This seemed counter-intuitive to the integrated design process many consultancies advertise as part of their service offerings to clients. In the end, as part of my first interview here I chose to be Mechanical Engineer in Canada as it was a steeper learning curve and typically has a greater impact, energy-wise, on the amount of energy a building consumes.

I still miss electrical engineering to this day, but thankfully in my new role I’m starting to use my electrical knowledge more and more.

Preparing for the move

Prior to moving, I knew with the Winter Olympics being hosted in Vancouver in early 2010 that the construction industry would be busy in Vancouver. Having said that, it still took nearly seven weeks to secure employment in Vancouver; this was mainly due to the time of the year.

Also, the industry can be quite close-knit, so if you don’t have a contact in a company or in the industry it can be hard to get a start. Networking is critical for finding employment as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

I brought some college notes over I knew I would use as the engineering programs studied in DIT are very industry specific and you actually do end up referring to college notes to execute day-to-day tasks and calculations. I also emailed some companies here prior to coming to Canada and updated my resume (CV).

I had worked in Boston on three J1 visas from 2002 to 2004 in a restaurant and a bike shop so I had a bit of knowledge on North American culture.

This was great experience as I had a really great mentor in the bike shop who taught me valuable customer service lessons that are key to effectively communicating in North America. His bike shop is located on a street with two competing bike shops located either side of his bike shop, to this day he still runs a very successful business and has remained open for over 83 years.

Your professional development in Canada

At first my current role was very hard to settle into. I thought Canada was on the metric system prior to moving here – it is, but because of its close proximity to the US, the industry uses both metric and imperial units and it can be hard to translate between the two in your head.

There was steep learning curve initially, but after about six to eight months I got the hang of it and adapted to the industry here.

Thankfully, I got to work on some very interesting projects in Vancouver: a 25-storey high-rise office that is LEED platinum rated; and VanDusen Botanical Gardens, a visitor’s center building that is targeting net zero energy and water on site. I also got to work with some great engineers from Canada, Serbia and England who have over 80 years of experience combined.

After four years of working for a consultancy, I decided to move into retrofitting of existing buildings with geo-exchange energy. During this time I got to project manage a large geo-exchange project and design the first mechanical geo-exchange retrofit of an existing high-rise building in Canada.

With eight years of working in Canada and knowledge of new and existing building system mechanical design I decided to set up my own computer-based building energy modeling simulation company to bridge the gap between computer building energy simulation and how buildings actually perform in reality.

At first I intended to work for one company and move up the corporate ladder, however after four years at both companies I concluded I can make a greater impact to building owners (clients) and design teams if I was part of an independent energy simulation company, with no vested interest in any particular renewable technology, system type or outcome.

Working environment as an Mechanical Engineer in Canada

The main challenge I had to overcome in my role was accepting how hard design engineers are expected to work here.

The construction industry is ruthless and project deadlines must be met. Sometimes engineers (who have no training or experience in this arena) get promoted to project management positions.

As a result, proper mentoring and project planning tend to be compromised. They have to endure long hours of overtime and lots of stress is put on them and the engineers on the team they are managing (or should I say, mismanaging).

Right now, the industry is so busy that it is hard to get a proper work-life balance unless you demand it and schedule your time properly. You need to learn to manage up in this industry and make you sure you allocate timeframes in your calendar for all tasks.

I found it was easier to open up my calendar and ask project managers which tasks you want to divert to a later date, rather than to just say I’m busy working on ‘X’. This way you throw the ball in their court and encourage them to project manage more effectively.

Working in engineering consultancy can be very challenging, especially when you first move to Canada and need to get up to speed on local codes and standards.

I spent many hours doing overtime to ensure I was getting up to speed on these areas so I was less stressed out and was more of a benefit to my employer (who at the time, was sponsoring my permanent residency application).

You also need to do some work on getting up to speed here. Learning is your responsibility, nobody else’s. It’s up to you to get the information you need to execute your job; a good mentor will point you to where to find it but they won’t learn it for you.

I say this as I have seen many young engineers blame senior engineers on not being mentored properly or being taught properly. If you don’t know something, find the answer yourself – this is something you learned or should have come across in university and the industry is no different.

Career prospects are excellent for anyone wishing to be an Electrical or Mechanical Engineer in Canada at the moment. The city is very green-conscious and wants to be the greenest city in North America by 2020. This is a big challenge, especially with the current rate of property development in the Lower Mainland.

Your lifestyle in Canada

The lifestyle is what I like about Canada the most, and how close everything is in Vancouver. I used to spend nearly three hours commuting to and from work in Dublin; in Vancouver my travel time is, on average, 30 minutes each day.

The scenery and the amenities in the city are great; in addition I feel very safe here, there is little to no crime except bicycle theft and handbag snatching from cars.

It’s a very easy city with lots to do and lots of events on all the time. The city does not really feel like a city, it’s very small and condensed compared to other North American cities.

More of my friends from college moved over here in 2008 and 2009 and are still here. This definitely helped as it is always better to have friends with you from home and you can help one another out and can relate to one another better.

At present I do call Canada home, but I would not rule out of the possibility of returning home to Ireland (especially if I have a family one day). For the moment, though, I can’t think of a better place to be at this stage of my life.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?
Work hard and smart, if you don’t know something go and find the answer and take on what you want achieve, don’t blame others for anything.

If you don’t like something change it, don’t complain about it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

Make sure your resume is specific not just to not just the industry but also the job you are going for. Network, network and network.

There is a great Irish community here that can help make your journey of gaining successful employment easier.

One of the great aspects of Irish culture is our desire to help our neighbours – don’t forget this when you leave Ireland. There is a reason there is an Irish pub in every country and major city in the world.

Follow Eoghan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Eoghan’s and be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

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How can I be a Commercial Business Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Richard Shipway.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Richard Shipway chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada and his wide-ranging career.

Commercial Business Manager in CanadaRichard Shipway – Commercial Business Manager in Canada – Axiom Builders

Richard was born in the UK, and emigrated to Vancouver in 1997. Richard and his wife have settled in North Vancouver.

Richard is strongly involved in the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

Over his twenty years in the Vancouver construction market, Richard has worked with Altus Group, Ledcor and Axiom Builders.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

My great uncle had immigrated to Red Deer, Alberta, 80 years ago so I was always curious about Canada.

I came to Canada for the first time on vacation 21 years ago with my wife, and did a road trip around British Columbia and Alberta taking in the Rockies. It was absolutely spectacular and reinforced our wish to live in such a beautiful, clean, vibrant city.

We decided we both needed a new challenge, and we focused on living in Vancouver.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Definitely lifestyle. When I lived in the UK, I spent up to four hours commuting each day and worked a 12-hour day. I had lots of money but no lifestyle.

What made you choose Vancouver?

We fell in love with Vancouver when we visited. The weather in Vancouver seemed to be very similar to what we were used to in the UK, given it doesn’t get too harsh winters like other parts of Canada. We also knew that Vancouver was a very progressive city so there would be lots of opportunity. And of course, the people: friendly, welcoming, and diverse.

Did you move alone?

I moved with my new wife, just five days after our wedding in December 1997. Canada was going to be a long-term honeymoon for us.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Quantity Surveying?

I spent my summers as a teenager working in construction.

When I left school, I worked with a general contractor, gaining lots of experience in various roles in the company. After doing some estimating, I thought being a QS was the best fit for me.

I changed companies and was employed as a QS with a day at University. After two years, I had gained a diploma. Afterwards, I went to university full-time for two years to gain my degree in Quantity Surveying, and RICS designation.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Having started as a labourer for a summer job with a contractor, my career evolved as each new opportunity was found or presented itself.

It’s always important to be flexible and willing to try new things. You never know where you will end up.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

1991 – 1995 > QS consultancy
1996 – 1997 > Senior QS with Takenaka (UK)
1998 – 2003 > Cost Consultant with Altus Group in Vancouver
2003 – 2009 > Senior PM with Ledcor Group
2009 – 2017 > Project Director with Ledcor Group
2017 – Present > Commercial Business Manager in Canada with Axiom Builders

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Very little. I was 30 years old and keen for adventure so promised myself to give a two-year minimum trial. Doing some research at home, I sent out half a dozen prospective resumes and made some initial contact to various potential employers.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Speaking with other British expats was very useful in terms of understanding how things differ between the UK and Canada. Being open to working quite differently and embracing it was crucial to my success in Canada from a work perspective. Always being humble and respectful.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No, and hadn’t really ever considered it either.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No. I had chatted with one individual prior to my move, but had no solid contacts in Canada. When we arrived, we knew nobody at all.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I was contacted by an industry recruiter I had known for many years about an opportunity to lead a new division in an existing leading general contractor. After several months of discussion, I started in my new role – re-energized, and excited to start something new.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Selling my house in the UK prior to my move would have made things much easier. I would strongly encourage anyone moving to wrap up your business at home first. It’s a big move changing countries and there’s lots to learn and enjoy – so to concentrate on that is enough for anyone.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Totally. I’m now involved in various construction associations and represent my company at many levels, so my role is much more political and industry-shaping. Promoting the construction industry with children is something I really enjoy and I’m also involved in more volunteering and a diversified field of mentoring.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked? ?

There was little quality of life for me working in the UK 20 years ago, but I hope things may have changed. Canada has a great work-life balance, and there is a strong emphasis on networking, especially in Vancouver. It’s considered OK to leave the office at 6pm and leaving before your boss!

Canada is a large country, so different experiences are available in different areas. The principles of collaboration, hard work, humility, respect, and fun remain.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  • Re-inventing myself as a Project Manager as my background was as a QS.
  • Networking, and lots of it – it’s all about who you know in Vancouver.
  • Different approach to business, processes, and procedures, much more relaxed and people-centric.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

  • Research in the form of informational interviews,
  • Networking – meeting as many people as possible,
  • Getting involved in as many events and organizations as I could,
  • Being open to learn, especially in a different way. Asking questions more often.

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

Great. The focus here is on getting the job done instead of clock watching. Titles are much more irrelevant, as are qualifications on business cards, and we generally work as a team to succeed.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry??

Very strong. The workload continues to be strong in Canada, leading the world in P3’s, for example. It’s a very stable and secure country with strong growth, and plenty of room for opportunities and innovation.

The industry actively recognizes more qualified people are required in all roles, and is much more sophisticated in its growth and training opportunities.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

  • Safe, clean, happy country.
  • Lots of opportunity here with a strong stable economy.
  • It’s a young country which means there is lots of innovation, heavily backed by the federal government.
  • Lots of exciting construction projects taking place, innovative and world-leading.
  • The business environment is very much people-focused with a strong emphasis on networking.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Focusing on my kids really helped me integrate, by taking part in schools and activities.

Getting involved and enjoying the place I live in. Being a tourist is okay even when you live here.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I’ve been here for 19 years now, so yes! I have had offers from other parts of the world but it’s difficult to leave Vancouver. It’s a beautiful, secure place, full of opportunity and a real life balance. My two sons were born here, and even though we have travelled extensively, this is still home.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be humble, respectful, and treat people well. Respect, listen and seek advice from others.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

  • Your word and integrity are extremely important in Canada. Building strong relationships and networking to build your contacts will help you succeed
  • Don’t reinvent your career before you come here. Get established here before you make any career changes.
  • Be patient and have a 5-year plan
  • Move for lifestyle and not $$

Follow Richard’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Richard Shipway’s?

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