Building a Career with IAF Support

Case study imgWhen Nelfran first came to Canada, he brought more than just 15 years of mechanical maintenance engineering experience with him, he also brought great uncertainty. Originally from Venezuela, Nelfran and his family had watched the political upheaval in their home country get worse and worse. Life was becoming unstable and increasing dangerous for Nelfran and his family. With heavy hearts, they made the decision to leave for Canada.

Landing in Calgary in May of 2016, his family made a refugee claim.  Nelfran had done research ahead of time and knew he would have difficulty finding a job in his field without a recognized credential. He had heard about the Power Engineering program at Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) but when he inquired about applying, he learned that he wasn’t eligible since he did not have Permanent Resident status yet. He also considered pursuing his P.Eng designation, but he didn’t have money for the exams and was worried about the time it would take.  In August Nelfran and his family learned their refugee application was successful and they received protected status.

His family now safe, Nelfran applied for and received his work permit. However, in addition to lacking a recognized credential, Nelfran also discovered that his English was not strong enough for the Canadian job market. He also recognized cultural differences, particularly around communication, andthis lack of knowledge about Canadian communication and workplace norms hurt his self-esteem.

Despite these barriers, he managed to land a job with a facility maintenance company where he worked doing basic maintenance, as well as a construction cleaning company. He was grateful for the income, but neither job involved his specialty of planning and programming maintenance for mechanical equipment. Nelfran was determined to re-enter his field and starting rebuilding his career in Canada.

A few months later, he received an email from the coordinator of the CCIS 5th class Power Engineering Building Operator Training Program. They informed him that they were starting the intake process, and inquired about his residency status. When he informed them that he had been successful in his refugee application, he was invited to apply, and was accepted with a start date of September 2017. There was one problem however, the tuition was $16,500. Nelfran didn’t have that kind of money, but after some web research he learned about IAF Canada.

Nelfran called IAF and learned that he was eligible for a loan. A loan facilitator helped guide him through the application process, including the development a learning plan, and within a week he had received a loan for $10,000. He was able to cover the remaining tuition with a bursary of $4,000 which he received from CCIS’s Oil and Gas programs director, as well as his personal savings. He started his program in September of 2017

In addition to helping him upgrade his technical skills, the 5th class Power Engineering Building Operator Training Program, helped him improve his English, learn about the Canadian workplace, and ultimately helped him rebuild his self-confidence. Even better, through his program he had been embedded for one day per week at Morguard, a large building operator in Calgary. Through this experience, he learned firsthand the responsibilities of a building operator and gained familiarity with the Canadian workplace. In January of 2018, he successfully wrote his 5th class power engineering exam and following a 3 week full time internship with Morguard, they offered him a full time permanent job! He was elated.

“Without your help, I would not be working in my job today. I know there are many good things still coming. I will keep working hard and hope to give back to others in order to help them reach their dreams and be successful too.”

IAF is proud to have played a part in Nelfran journey and success.


Every year, IAF helps hundreds of immigrants by providing loans to help them pay for the licensing or training they need to work in their field in Canada. Now more than ever Canada’s newcomers need our help. Please consider a donation to IAF today.