Skills development for internationally-trained architects in Canada
Canadian employers put a high emphasis on soft skills, which are personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike your hard skills, you can apply your soft skills broadly.
Soft skills, such as leadership, good communication, abstraction, strategic thinking and negotiation are important for architects. As an architect, you are expected to have technical leadership experience, know how to work with multiple groups, and how to lead groups.
If your hard skills will get you an interview, most probably it is your soft skills that will get you the job and enable you to keep it afterwards.
Though not a must, but upgrading your education and skills through a bridging program or other educational courses and workshops may be an important part of your journey to become a successful architect in Canada.
Download Nick Noorani’s “9 Soft Skills No Immigrant Should Be Without!”
You may have strong technical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterwards. You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regards to your communication skills and team dynamics.
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is extremely important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through the school boards or settlement agencies. There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as Enhanced Language Training (ELT) and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT).
And if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some even want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D or MBA.
Click here for links to Universities and Colleges across Canada where you can find the courses and subjects that interest you.
Bridging programs are a good way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities and immigrant-serving agencies offer bridging programs or workshops. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program that’s suitable for you.
Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture (PBDA)
If you wish to take courses required for CACB certification, you may register as a non-program student within the PBDA program.
Bridge Training for Immigrant Professionals Leveraging Architectural Knowledge for New Opportunities (I-PLAN)
This 14-week bridge training program helps internationally educated professionals find employment in the architectural field. Program components include architectural academic training, Enhanced Language Training (ELT), Canadian Workplace Essentials (CWE), and employment services; mentoring and internship placements.
Pathways into Sustainability and Energy
This 15-week bridging program is for internationally trained professionals with education and experience in engineering, architecture or related professions. Participants of the program get training that helps them gain advanced concepts and skills in integrated solutions for the energy efficiency, green building and renewable energy sector: The program includes Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT), Canadian workplace culture, career planning, job search and mentorship opportunities.