Putting Years of Experience to Work in Canada’s Oil Patch

Babatunde LRTunde Jegede was often told that, while he had great experience and interviewed well, he would need Canadian certification to get work. It’s a familiar story. Because of his and his family’s tenacity, sense of community and a little help from IAF, his is one of many immigrant stories with a happy ending.

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Tunde studied electrical engineering at Yaba College of Technology. After a year of compulsory National Youth Service Corps, he landed a job with Cadbury, a division of Kraft Foods International. He spent over 20 years working his way up the corporate ladder from Instrument Maintenance Engineer to Procurement Category Buyer.

While at Cadbury, a Canadian friend encouraged Tunde and his family to immigrate, citing a higher standard of living and opportunities for his children that were unavailable in Nigeria. In 2010, Tunde and his wife moved their family to Brampton, Ontario.

Tunde  travelled back and forth between Nigeria and Canada, continuing to work for Cadbury, while his family established life in Canada. It was very difficult for Tunde to be separated from his family.

When in Canada, the accomplished Tunde landed many interviews. His international experience for a multinational was enough to get him noticed and get a foot in the door. However, not being a certified professional in his field became a hiring barrier. He  knew he had to get his Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) certification.

As luck would have it, his wife was studying for her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) exams in Brampton and was an IAF client. She had received an IAF loan for her studies and found the application process to be enjoyable, as well as easy.  Tunde’s next step was clear.

In 2013, when he made the final move to Canada, he applied for his own IAF loan. Tunde says he was incredibly impressed with how the loans were handled and how quickly the approval and support came from IAF.

SCMP certification in hand, the job came. He and his family moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta, where Tunde currently works in supply chain management for First Nations-owned Fort McKay Group of Companies. A large oilfield construction and services company, Fort McKay Group services some of the biggest companies in the Canadian oil fields, including Suncor Energy, Syncrude, and Shell. Tunde is enjoying success working as an Inventory Control Analyst, a position in line with his skills and previous experience. Beyond professional success, he enjoys the fact that he and his family are living in the same town, in the same country, for the  first time in years.

When asked how they are enjoying Fort McMurray, Tunde laughed, remarking how it’s such a small town compared to Lagos, known as one of the most overpopulated cities on earth. “It is easy to get anywhere in Fort McMurray and the roads are quiet. There is little traffic and it has a great community feel.

Living in large cities all my life, this city is a relief to me,” he said. “The children may move to larger centres when they are older but this is a great place for them to gain education and opportunities.”

This sense of community has become important to Tunde and his family. He described the huge 2016 fire that devastated much of Fort McMurray as being an awakening for his family. Their house was spared from the fire, but parts of his neighbourhood were not.  Driving into their subdivision, Tunde recounts seeing four houses on the outskirts of their neighbourhood that burned to the ground. He didn’t know the families who had lost their homes. He realized then that he didn’t know his neighbours as well as he would have liked.

Since then, he has made strides to connect more with his local community. He finds that the fire has made many in Fort McMurray reach out to their neighbours and coworkers in a more personal way. Tunde described how IAF became part of this community connection for him. He was deeply moved when he and his wife received a phone call from IAF, offering to suspend their loan repayments because of the fire and the uncertainty in their lives.

Tunde was deeply moved that IAF made this offer. He believes it is indicative of how we care for those we support here at IAF. Tunde is grateful to be back in his community and home, back at work and enjoying the life he and his family are building together in Canada. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to support people like Tunde and his family.

 


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.