With unrelenting determination and a firm belief in his dreams, Ayman’s journey to becoming a Certified Electrician in Canada has captivated and inspired all those who have had the privilege of meeting him at the Immigrants Working Centre (IWC). His story is filled with challenges, separations, and new beginnings, but above all, it is a testament to his resilience and the impact of community support.
Originally from Syria, Ayman’s love for electrical work started at a young age. He began working with electricity when he was just 13 years old, and it quickly became a part of his identity. “If I don’t work, I feel that there is something missing,” Ayman says, reflecting on his early years in Syria. This early passion and determination laid the foundation for his remarkable journey.
As time passed, the situation in Syria worsened and Ayman fled his homeland and sought refuge in Lebanon, where he experienced discrimination and xenophobia. Determined to build a better future, Ayman took the daring decision to cross the sea and arrived in Germany as an undocumented immigrant. There, he found work as an assistant electrician.
However, Ayman’s ultimate goal was to come to Canada and reunite with his family. “For me, Canada means hope. It is full of opportunities. And no racism,” Ayman says. So, when the opportunity arose, he didn’t doubt to take it.
Arriving in Canada, Ayman faced the intimidating task of starting over. He didn’t have the language skills, but he had the expertise and passion for his craft. Determined to work and support his family, Ayman took a job in the chicken industry, “It was not an easy time.” Ayman recalls. He knew that he didn’t want to stay in a job that wasn’t related to electrical work, so he started knocking on doors, asking for help and guidance on how to obtain the credentials required to work as an electrician in Canada. Unfortunately, he was met with discouragement and negativity, with people telling him that it was too difficult and not worth trying.
It was during this challenging time that Ayman was referred to IWC by his settlement counsellor at HMC Connections. It was there that he met Eman, the Manager of Industry Relations at IWC, who recognized Ayman’s knowledge, determination, and enthusiasm. “Eman is a good woman. She told me that it was not difficult to get my credentials. I couldn’t believe it, but she assured me by saying – yes, it is not difficult. She was good to me,” Ayman said, expressing his gratitude for Eman’s unwavering support.
At IWC, Ayman and Eman started immediately working on his Skilled Trades application, while he attended English classes and worked to support his family. “We compiled all the documents needed, including his resume, work experience, and cover letter to support his application. He completed the online Electrician Code Book courses despite his limited English language skills. We submitted the application, and we just waited, eager to receive the approval for him to take the trades exam,” Eman explains, describing the meticulous process.
In April 2021, Ayman finally received approval to write his exam after waiting for 3 to 4 months. However, the language barrier remained a challenge. Louai, a volunteer at IWC, stepped in to assist Ayman with the exam translation. Ayman attempted the credential exam five times, with each attempt becoming a little easier as he gained confidence and studied harder.
Ayman remembers the nights before the exams when he felt nervous and could hardly sleep. But his perseverance and hard work paid off. He finally passed the exam on his fifth attempt with an impressive score of 83 out of 100. Ayman recalls checking the exam results page every day until he saw the good news. He couldn’t contain his joy and gratitude for the support he had received from Eman, Louai, and his parents, who were his biggest champions.
Today, Ayman holds his electrical license in Ontario, a testament to his unwavering determination and perseverance. He knows that his certification will open doors for him in pursuing his dream to become a master electrician and build a career in Canada. Ayman states that the key to his success is to “be confident, not despair, not listen to people who bring you down. Focus on working hard and even language won’t be a barrier, ask questions. There are a lot of people who are lost in this process because they don’t have the information, but they need help, so ask questions.”
Ayman continues to be an inspiration to others not only at IWC but in his community and beyond, showcasing how resilience and hard work can overcome challenges. With a heart full of gratitude, he looks forward to the next chapter of his successful career in Canada.
Disclaimer: The quotes from Ayman in this article were translated from Arabic and may not be exact words.
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Louai Moghrabi for his valuable volunteer work at the Immigrants Working Centre and his contribution in gathering information for this article.
If you are interested in volunteering and using your interviewing, designing or writing skills to tell stories about our community, consider joining the IWC’s Communications team. Please contact Magaly Utima (Volunteer Coordinator) at mutima@IWCHamilton.ca or 905-529-5209 x 1236