New Canadian Profile

Name: Richard Gorman
Occupation: Journeyman Electrician
Employer: Saundersons Electric
Birth Country: Ireland
Years in Canada: 14 months
Years at Current Job: 14 months

After being hit particularly hard from the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, Richard and his family were motivated to look beyond Ireland for employment opportunities. Canada’s natural gas sector was appealing because Canada’s natural resource extraction is done responsibly, and British Columbia was particularly appealing because of its temperate climate and wide range of outdoor activities.

Having acquired previous electrical experience in different places and on large-scale projects, as well as obtaining millwright experience working on elevators and escalators, Saundersons Electric was a great fit.

Saundersons went above and beyond and helped Richard and his family with accommodations, tools, a truck, and numerous other things that helped the Gormans settle more easily into their new Canadian life, easing some of the financial burdens and worries left over from the crushing effects of the financial crisis – a true example of Canadian hospitality.

Interview with Richard Gorman

What advice would you give a new Canadian looking for work in their field in BC’s natural gas sector?
Go for it, learn as much as you can and work as hard as you can. Grab it with both hands – it’s there for the taking. If you put in the effort, you will reap the rewards! It is always hard being away from home but technology helps. I was lucky to be able to bring my family with me. I would also advise that you start your permanent residency paperwork early.

How did you find your current job in the natural gas sector?
I was sending out resumes daily to job postings on various job sites. When I was in Vancouver writing my Red Seal, Clint from Saundersons Electric called and offered me a job. We talked a number of times a few weeks later and after a few conversations I finally accepted an offer. It turns out that Saundersons actually received my resume from a number of different sources before Clint reached out.

What resources were helpful in finding a job in your career field in BC?
Indeed was really good for job searches. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website helped us fire out the differences in job titles and workers. The Industry Training Authority was also hugely helpful in obtaining my Red Seal certification. I also used Electrical Exam for their study material as I had only 20 days to prepare for an electrical exam in a country I’d never been to before. I managed to pass the exam, thank goodness.

What kind of career-related education, training or experience, if any, did you have before coming to Canada?
After I completed school I served four years as an electrical apprentice. I have 12 years experience in Ireland working in both industrial and domestic. I also worked an additional 6 years as an elevator mechanic. I’ve worked with a number of large companies and large scale projects, including acting as a senior electrician during the construction of the Croke Park Stadium, which was one of my favourites. I’ve also worked in a large water treatment plant as an elevator mechanic, and the shear size of the project made it very interesting.

Did you experience any challenges when starting your new career in BC?
Of course, it’s not like you are just starting a new job. it’s also a new country, new people, new regulations, new terminology, new tools, new everything. Even with all that I can do and all that I’ve done before, I’m still starting at the very bottom again and have to go the extra mile to prove myself and to be accepted by colleagues and co-workers. Being an immigrant can be very taxing at times.

What unique qualities or traits do you think you bring to your job as a new Canadian?
I wouldn’t say ‘unique’ so much as just different ways of working. We (Irish) also have a very good and different sense of humour that can be very helpful in high-stress situations in order to calm people down and get the job done. Not a lot of things phase us.

Have you received any career-related training in Canada?
I receive ongoing on-site training. You can never really know everything. I was with a Canadian electrician for the first few days, just as an introduction, and then I was out on my own in a week.