Tom Duffy and Almu Guiles began working in Vancouver as engineers in early 2013. In this guest blog, they reveal how to get ahead of the pack when looking for work in a competitive market. As for lifestyle in Vancouver, they give us the lowdown on searching for accommodation and getting around town.
We moved to Vancouver together a year ago. We wanted to see what engineering opportunities Vancouver had to offer, so first we came here on a holiday and, if things went according to plan, we would proceed with the working holiday visa. This gave us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with Vancouver and decide whether we really liked this new city.
Our decision to move to Vancouver wasn’t taken lightly. Two vital parts of our research included contacting Ruairi Spillane (from Moving2Canada) who offered us endless advice and guidance about the dos and don’ts about how to establish ourselves and begin working in Vancouver. Secondly, we visited a Canadian Expo in Glasgow. This was vital as it was our first opportunity to meet representatives from Canadian companies. We found that they were very welcoming as both of us were engineers and, more importantly, we had around five years’ experience.
At this stage it was important to put ourselves across really well and get the representatives’ contact details. Most of these representatives are very well positioned in their companies and know all the projects their company is working on.
Furthermore, if opportunities in your field are few and far between, don’t be dismayed — they can still help you. Ask them what companies they would recommend for you to contact and which provinces they are working in. Most of these people are focusing on specific geographical areas, but don’t be disheartened if they tell you one city has more work than another. We were told that Calgary had more work than Vancouver (which is true), but working in Vancouver is possible, it’s just you have to work harder to make it happen.
We then asked ourselves what lifestyle we are we looking for and carried out research as to whether or not you will get this lifestyle in Vancouver.
When we arrived in Vancouver we found it difficult to get a place to stay. We stayed in a hostel for two weeks before we could find a nice apartment, which we found to be very expensive.
Here are some tips:
Looking for apartments
- Vancouver is only one of a number of cities in the lower mainland, so when looking for a place to stay we took a good look at the Vancouver neighbourhoods guide on moving2canada.com, which shows the different areas that people are living in and will give you a good idea where you will fit in.
- Leases begin on either the 1st or the 15th of each month, with very few exceptions. Most apartments are put up for rent nearer the end of the month, so you are best off coming here around the 20th of the month and then searching for accommodation.
- If you like an apartment, make sure to put a deposit down. People here keep changing their minds and you may get a phone call telling you the apartment has been taken. And do not worry about long leases, as there are a few apartments with month-by-month payments.
- A lot of the large engineering companies are located downtown. It isn’t cheap and the apartments are a lot smaller than the rest of Vancouver, but you do have the benefit of being closer to these companies and meeting for interview. You are also in the ideal location for socialising.