Oil Rig Jobs -Workers young and old attended a job fair at the Holiday Inn in droves Wednesday as more than 40 businesses were scooping up skilled and unskilled labourers.
Kyle Charpentier, representing FMC Technologies, said the labour shortage isn’t anything new, and the company is always looking to fill entry-level positions.“Education always helps, but if you’re willing to work, pull the wrenches, you’re hired,” he said.But with the dozens of oil companies handing out high paying, immediate employment, other Peace Country trades are feeling the pinch.
Dale Thomas, owner of Thomas Mechanic Services in Grande Prairie said qualified heavy-duty mechanics are few and far between.“They’re very, very difficult to find,” Thomas said.” More so in the Peace Country.”
This is the first year Thomas has set up at a Oil Rig jobs fair and still, he saw the young workers gravitate to oil patch work.
“The problem is we’ve maxed out in apprentices, and we can’t hire more until we have more licensed guys,” he said.” And there are just not enough people coming into the trade.”He said heavy-duty apprenticeship is low paying and hard work, and young people are looking at the alternatives.“Where you can take a $3,000 course for a month, become a truck driver and go into the oil field jobs, and make good money right off the bat.”
But he said his focus is on young people, and training them to be valuable, skilled workers. Lance Chalifoux, 26 came to Grande Prairie under a week ago, and he already has at least one job lined up which starts Monday.Struggling for months to find work in construction in Kamloops, B.C., he came to Grande Prairie looking for oil work, and found an entry-level position that pays him $20 per hour.
He said by having a Class 5 driver’s licence, he’s qualified is the eyes of most oil companies at the fair. “I’m just at the fair incase something falls through, or there’s a company that pays better, or has better benefits.”And although he’s come to Alberta oil careers for a paycheque, he’s looking for further career opportunities.Another applicant in search of work was Richard Green, 49 who is looking to switch careers.
Green says he may be late in the game, but isn’t daunted by the young blood companies are hiring on the spot. “I’m looking at my age. I’m looking for something I want to do for the next 10 years, to retire from,” he said.He’s a little scared about jumping careers, but as long as he has a paycheque, he can take his time.