The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) is assisting engineering technology professionals who have fled war-torn nations in obtaining their professional designations and employment in their field without having to start over again.

Currently, Cochrane is home to 171 members of ASET.

Two initiatives have been designed by ASET to support newcomers in the province. The competency-based assessment program accelerates refugees with engineering technology education into their legitimate careers in 75 per cent less time than it would take them to earn an engineering technology diploma.

“We've always had refugee applicants from places like Syria and Afghanistan and so forth, but they've typically been here for some time before they apply to us” explains ASET CEO, Barry Cavanaugh. “The possibility that we were going to be getting Ukrainian technologists who were arriving in the country, really made us sit up and take notice.”

“Our council decided to waive the application and examination fees for them, which could be up to $1,000. They don't need that kind of obstacle in their path. They need to be able to get to work in their field.”

Mila Wagner fled Ukraine after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Two years later, she and her son Nikita moved to Alberta. She learned that the Canadian job market would not recognize her several engineering technology degrees from Ukraine.

“I started applying for a job in my field, but nobody called me for an interview, because my education and credentials, including experience, were not fully accepted here in Canada. At that time, I didn't know about ASET or the competency-based assessment program.”

Mila went on to graduate from Lethbridge College with a diploma in civil engineering technology but is working hard to spread the news of these initiatives to help any newcomers to Canada, especially from Ukraine.

Anyone interested in the competency-based assessment program can learn more here.