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Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
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scotian Offline
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Rafa: there's many different options for maintenance trades, basically all trades can be a maintenance trade (welder, pipefitter, scaffolder, etc). The pros of working maintenance are that these are more permanent positions and you do less actual work because of safety issues (have to pull permits to work, this takes a while). the downside of course is that you're in a live refinery, things can go wrong (explosions, dangerous gas leaks, etc) also, you'll be exposed to some carcinogens. You'll have to check out the immigration Canada website (http://www.cic.gc.ca) they have fast track programmes for skilled workers.

Skeletonjelly: Welder is indeed one of the highest paying trades, if you get your own rig and self contract. That isn't something that happens quickly, you'll first have to spend about 3-5 years getting your JM ticket. A welder who isn't self employed and works directly for a company, like most other trades, make the same, $40-45/hr for a journeyman. You'll likely work 12 hours a day, 6am til 6pm, when you get back to camp, you eat, shower, then go to bed around 10-11 so most guys would have about 2-3 hours of free time per day. Depending on the gig, you may have a lot of downtime during the day to write, read, surf the net, etc.

Irishman: Good job getting an interview, let us know how it goes. Hopefully you'll have a job waiting for you once you land in Alberta, although it would be nice if you can take a few days to see a bit of the province. Trust me, once you get up to Fort Mac or wherever they send you, you'll be balls to the wall busy everyday! Also, if you can get your landed immigrant papers, you can do seasonal work in the oil sands (like me) and live elsewhere while you aren't working, I know a few guys who immigrated to Canada years ago and now just come back to work then leave again.

Metalhaze: Yes welding can indeed be a hazardous occupation (all trades can be, that's why we're well compensated) but if a guy follows the proper safety precautions, he can minimize the risk. I'm not sure its something I would want to do for 40 years, but it can be a pretty good gig for a few years anyway. All of the other trades are fairly easy to get into, they all have their own safety concerns (electricians work with high voltage electricity and can get zapped to death!).

Health and safety professionals are basically the most hated people on site but are a necessary evil. No body likes them because they can kick you offsite if you break any safety rules, but they're there to protect everyone and make sure we all go home safe. They can make really good money too ($50+/hour) and the job isn't labour intensive, check out United Safety and HSE integrated for entry level positions.

Having business experience and education WILL come in handy, especially if you spend a couple of years on the tools and you want to make the transition into management, that's something that I'm looking into doing eventually, I'm definitely not going to be climbing around pipe racks and inside boilers and furnaces when I'm 50 years old!
02-04-2012 03:08 PM
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - scotian - 02-04-2012 03:08 PM
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM