Work: Success is in Ontario’s Soil
“People are not always aware of how contaminated soil can be detrimental to human health," says Mujeeb Khan, a civil engineer from India, now manager of operations at Harbour Remediation and Transfer Inc., a private company that provides soil "remediation," or cleaning, in Toronto where old industrial land is sold and rezoned for new home construction.
Back home in his native Uttar Pradesh province of northern India, Khan had never dreamed of such a career when he began studying civil engineering at Aligarh University, near Delhi.
"Business is booming for us, due to all of the construction in the GTA and the government's stringent environmental regulations," he says.
After his family immigrated to Canada in 1994, Khan realized an Indian diploma alone would not serve him well in his job search. So he went to Centennial College to inquire about some English upgrading and had the good fortune to speak to Dr. Dan McClean, who put him on an unexpected track. "He really helped to direct me into environmental protection as a new career area," recalls Khan. "He was the catalyst that changed my life."
Khan started in the college's Environmental Protection Technician program, which introduces students to the tools and equipment needed in microbiology, field sampling, analytical chemistry and surveying – all essential skills in managing complex environmental problems.
"I like Centennial because it gives you hands-on knowledge. In the labs, for example, you learn gas chromatography procedures exactly as you would do them at work. It was a big change compared to the teaching methodology I experienced at university."
Centennial recognized his university diploma and gave him credit for his previous studies, allowing Khan to complete his college program in only one year. Then, he got another Canadian diploma by entering the Environmental Science specialist program at the University of Toronto, from where he graduated in 1999.
He came back to Centennial to upgrade his technician diploma to a technologist designation with one more year of study.
Khan was ready to work in the field of soil remediation and he found a job at Harbour Remediation, first as a technician, then as a supervisor promoted after just six months, and finally as the manager of operations.
He is now a successful immigrant who provides Ontario with a great – and green – service