York chapter salutes progress on mentorship front

Volunteers with PEO’s York Chapter marked the work of its mentors in steering engineering interns (EITs) onto the path of licensure with a Licensure Assistance Program (LAP) appreciation night in Richmond Hill, Ontario, just north of Toronto.

Organized by Elmer Ting, P.Eng., mentorship committee director for the York Chapter, the event featured nearly 30 guides, EITs and chapter executives for a discussion on mentoring success strategies and the importance of veteran engineers guiding recent graduates through the registration and career-hunting processes.

The LAP operates in conjunction with PEO’s Student Membership Program, which aims to strengthen the links between internationally educated applicants and recent graduates, and the engineering regulator. It matches EITs to P.Engguides who provide advice and experience to assist them toward their goal of obtaining a P.Englicence. This includes insight into licensing requirements, ethical practices, leadership development and advice on obtaining and reporting acceptable engineering work experience.

PEO began the LAP as a pilot program in 2010. Starting with five chapters, the program has since branched out to nearly all PEO’s 36 chapters across the province. As of this year, some 1120 EITs have taken part in the program.

At the February 28 event, guides and mentee-EITs were invited to describe their experience with the LAP. Geoff Reyes, P.Eng., a veteran EIT guide with both the Scarborough and York chapters, said the program brings significant benefit to both guide and EIT. “One overarching idea I provide all interns in our meetings is that this program is intended to help guide people towards their P.Englicence, but I truly believe I have a responsibility to introduce passionate engineers to the organization,” Reyes said.

Reyes said the main obstacle interns face is the assessment and evaluation of international education and work experience and how they pertain to the Canadian market. “Many interns would be provided technical exams and interviews during their application process and, for a few of them, the process was very intimidating,” Reyes explained. “I had provided them with the confidence that all interviews and exams would focus on their specific discipline and are geared toward the application and information they provide PEO.”

Sara Jafari, EIT, one of the York Chapter mentees attending the appreciation night, reiterated the program’s benefits to all participants. Now working as a systems integration engineer at SNC Lavalin in Mississauga, Jafari was guided under the York Chapter LAP by Roger SalemaP.Eng.

“I believe the LAP is a great opportunity for recent graduates, as my guide provided his professional knowledge and expertise is assisting me to prepare my experience application to fulfill the requirement as part of P.Engdesignation process,” Jafari said.

York chapter chair Lui Tai, P.Eng., a first-time lap volunteer, was assigned two separate mentees in the last mentorship cycle. “It’s important for PEO and the chapters to offer this assistance, to help the new EIT in the short term but to help build a strong profession in the long run,” Tai said. “We need to have a good succession plan. Offering assistance to new engineers will provide reassurance that PEO cares about the profession as well as its members.”