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Land of Opportunity

Postcards from #Canada150

I had $400 with me and since I could not afford a normal holiday, I planned to spend one year on a working holiday. With my Electrical Engineering qualifications, gaining international experience was a motivating factor for my working holiday in the 1970s. Canada was attractive for being a safe and friendly country with living standards similar to Australia.

My plans to return home were delayed by the varied opportunities from Ontario to Alberta, particularly in the energy industry. Then, I met my wife who was from Edmonton, which put my plans to leave further back.

Alberta in the mid 70’s had a high demand for technical and professional staff in the oil, gas and energy industry. My diverse background afforded me the opportunity to start a recruiting company.

Four decades later, I am now the Chairman of Design Group Staffing Inc., a leading supplier of technical and professional personnel.  The company has grown to 300 employees, 28 branches across the country and a workforce of over 3,000 people.

I believe that my success comes from continually striving for excellence and creating an environment that engages the creativity and involvement of others.

I doubt that I would have had the same success if I had not come to Canada.

Contributor: Mike Duff
Occupation: Chairman, Agilus Work Solutions
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Working Holiday in Canada: 1970s 

Start your life-changing International Experience Canada (IEC) adventure today!

This is one in a series of stories shared by International Experience Canada participants from the 1970s to present to celebrate Canada 150.

IEC began in 1951 as a reconciliatory cultural exchange between Canada and Germany following World War II.  Today, IEC supports Canada’s interests by administering Youth Mobility Agreements (including Working Holiday) with 33 countries and territories. The agreement between Canada and Australia started in 1975 and is currently reciprocal in the number of inbound and outbound participants.


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Canada Down Under is an on-line portfolio of Canadian-Australian stories produced by the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney and other contributors.

Canada Down Under est un portefeuille en ligne d'histoires canado-australiennes produites par le Consulat général du Canada à Sydney et d'autres contributeurs.

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