There’s no shortage of skilled trade jobs in an economy where the resource industry is booming and employers are looking for able-bodied individuals to do everything from equipment repair to electrical and carpentry work.
Bradley MacIntosh, 21, in Edmonton is one of many apprentices whose training will serve him in good stead in a growing economy. Currently apprenticing as a heavy equipment technician for SMS Equipment, he says he likes the idea of working on the “big stuff” like crawlers, excavators and bulldozers.
Having grown up on a farm, he’s used to fixing larger equipment. Now in his second apprenticeship year, he still enjoys the hands-on and troubleshooting parts of his work.
When he’s finished, MacIntosh says there’s no limit to where it can take him. “I may just tour around Alberta and try out the oil and gas industry or start my own business,” he says.
Employment is never much of a problem for someone with MacIntosh’s skills. Much of the growth in oil and gas jobs is for example in the skilled trades, reports Rick Davidson, group lead, recruitment for Cenovus Energy in Calgary. “There are a huge number of job opportunities in existing communities and new ones. I’d say at least half of the positions within our company are skilled trades.”
The list of potential careers at Cenovus is lengthy, David-son notes. “The industry needs mechanics, electricians, instrument technicians, heavy equipment operators, millwrights, pipefitters and insulators – all of the skills required to get a facility built and operating. Many of those positions require some sort of certification or journeyman status.”
Cenovus is not alone. A recent report from the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada states that the industry will need to fill at least 9,500 jobs by 2015. The top 10 list of greatest labour shortages includes operators, non-steam ticketed operators, truck drivers, millwrights and machinists, heavy equipment operators and welders.