International student pursues career in mining

Image credit: Harsh Agrawala
Image credit: Harsh Agrawala

The hands-on experience Harsh Agrawala received at Saskatchewan Polytechnic kick started his career in the mining industry. 

Harsh, an international student from India, began his studies in the Mining Engineering Technology program in 2017 after extensive research into post-secondary institutions. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from India, his home country, Harsh was looking for an opportunity to continue his education in Canada. 

“I knew I wanted to get into the mining industry and with Canada’s rich history in the mining sector, it was a good fit,” he said. “I chose Sask Polytech because it offered hands-on training. The program combines lab projects with theory, which gives students an advantage in their careers. Sask Polytech provides practical experience which enhances the education experience.” 

Harsh attended campus in Saskatoon and graduated from his program in the spring of 2019. He speaks very highly of his instructors who helped him both inside and outside the classroom.  

“I had wonderful instructors who had great industry experience,” he said. “The best part about the classes, and actually the fun part, was listening to their real-life work experiences. They shared good examples about the challenges one would face as a technologist working in the mining industry. They always encouraged us to work hard and follow safe practices.” 

He attributes the opportunity as a student to connect with business leaders as a key to his future success. 

During his studies at Sask Polytech, Harsh worked as a recruitment assistant with the Sask Polytech International department. His experiences coming to Canada, exploring a new culture in a new country and living on his own for the first time helped him provide support to his fellow students. He continues to provide support to new international students at Sask Polytech by giving presentations on his personal experience.  

Moving to a new country and living on his own for the first time took some adjusting. Learning to cook for himself, pay his own bills and find his way in a new country were challenging. Harsh recently received his Permanent Resident status and is excited to call Canada home. 

“It took me about three months to settle down,” he said. But settle down he did and he accredits Sask Polytech for an engaging education that prepared him well for his future career. 

Before his convocation, Harsh had secured a job in his field. His advice to current students is to not give up. 

“Patience is the key. Keep going and don’t lose hope. Keep applying and eventually you will get a job,” he said. That persistence is something Harsh knows firsthand, having applied to nearly 50 jobs in his field over a five-month period. In the end he had three interviews that resulted in three job offers. He accepted a position at Barrick Gold Corp. in northern Ontario and has since been promoted from a mine technician to a geologist. 

Harsh also encourages students to reach out for help when needed.  

“Share your problems. It is very important to talk about your difficulties. Sharing opens doors to solutions you may have never thought about,” he said. 

He encourages students to study hard and follow the advice from one of his instructors who told his class to treat their education as if it were their job. By working hard and staying dedicated to their goal they will go far. 

“I had supportive instructors who helped me with my studies and my job hunt,” he said. “I truly experienced the polytechnic advantage. Let me tell you, coming to Sask Polytech was one of my best decisions.” 

“Saskatchewan Polytechnic is a very well-known name in the industry and people admire our graduates and the skills they bring with them.”  

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Published May 2022.