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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!
(12-11-2012 10:22 AM)Albertron Wrote:  Hey guys,

Like most people on this thread, I accidentally passed through this thread about 1.5 months ago when doing some research on the oil sands in Alberta. Just wanna give my kudos to scotian and the others that have massively contributed valuable information on this thread.

I've read through everything, did my end of the research on the companies posted here, allowed the info to simmer, and recently made the serious decision to go for it.

I will be making the move in February, in order for me to close off any financial, employment and personal ties here. A little bit about me to put everything in context. I'm 24 years old, Vietnamese-Canadian, currently in Toronto, Ontario. Completed my B.A. in Sociology in 2011, now I currently work in Home & Auto Insurance division with the Royal Bank of Canada, and don't like it at all. Corporate life is not for me, hence the decision to move. Zero experience in the trades, though I work as a Supervisor at a lube shop for about 4 years before this job. Not much of a job, but gave me some basic knowledge on tools and mechanics. I'm definitely more of a hands-on person, as I enjoy working with tools and prefer manual labour over sitting in front of a computer all the time. Still live with the parents, recently paid off student loans, currently in the 1st of a 3 year financing term for my car (2010 Honda Civic). I make $30k/year after taxes. Game-wise, close to nil. Just had a major case of oneitus for over 5 years. A horrible relationship. This move will be the first time moving out on my own and doing it on my own. Scared? Tbh, yes, but just glad that I've found this opportunity. Told myself to man the fuck up and do it.

From what I read through, I understand there are 3 safety tickets that are needed before employers in Alberta will consider me: CSTS, H2S Alive and OSSA Fall Protection, along with First Aid. Just completed my CSTS, I have an H2S Alive course lined up for mid Jan and OSSA I'm in the process of enrolling. First Aid course will be done this weekend.

In terms of bank roll, after liquidation I should have between $8k-$10k by Feb, and apparently $5k is more than enough to bring there. I just like extra cushion.

Living arrangements, Edmonton is closer to Fort Mac than Calgary, but apparently Calgary is a better city than Edmonton. Not sure how subjective that statement is but wondering if you guys that are there already can point me in the direction of more jobs. It was also stated that rent in Edmonton is about $400-600/month, which is very doable with my bank roll. Don't think I saw any info on rent in Calgary, but I would assume it's a little more if it's 'nicer' as people make it out to be. Transportation wise, I intend to get the cheapest car I can get there, like a shitty Honda Civic or something.

I understand that when I'm there, I'll be at the bottom of the barrel. My trade of choice is electrician, and I understand it will take about 2-4 years before I get journeyman status, that's fine. But in the mean time I will take anything that will pad my pockets up a bit. Not picky at all because I really have nothing to relate to in terms of job experience, so might as well get that experience so that I can justify my pickyness. As per some of scotian's posts, some companies will provide funding for your apprentice should you show some level of commitment to your work and the company, so I'm hoping to find such companies. Also, seems like joining a union is also the way to go in order to secure good wages and a good pension.

Scotian also posted some links on companies that hire newbies off the street: HSE integrated, United Safety, CEDA Group, Clean Harbors. It would be ideal for me to have something lined up for when I get there, so I will have my resume and cover letters updated and send them to these companies.

Ideally, I'd like to work up in Fort Mac and live in a camp there. Saw some Youtube vids of the camps there and doesn't seem like anything I cannot handle.

To avoid having questions all over the place, I've bundled them up here. Any response to these questions is greatly appreciated:

- I will be updating my resume to add the tickets, First Aid, and that I have a full driver's license on here. Is there anything else I should add there?
- How easy is it to find a place in Edmonton or Calgary? I know if I looked around some ads and newspapers I will find some but what I mean is are they usually abundant, or scarce?
- Any idea if the Alberta market value for old, used cars is nice and cheap? I'd like to be as frugal as possible.
- Any suggestions as to what unions have electricians, and where I can find them in Alberta? I'm very new to this whole 'union' thing but I understand that they are there for the worker's protection.
- Any suggestions for other companies that I should be focusing on, in terms of helping me with my electrician apprenticeship?

I may be missing some other things in my game plan, but understand that I've invested a lot of time and research in this and not taking this lightly at all. This will be done. If you guys think I'm missing anything, it would be great to have your input.

You should be good to go, especially with $8-10K saved up, just re-read the thread and you'll find all of the info you need but I'll try my best to answer your questions.

-A clean driver's abstract and class 5 is almost essential, go to the Ontario DMV and have your abstract printed off, include this with your resume. H2S and CSTS are the basic ones, First-Aid is good but not as important. Other ones such as confined space entry or fall arrest are good to have as well, but I wouldn't worry to much about them, although they all look good on a CV.

-A room to rent should be easy to find, both furnished or non. With the money you have, you could find a non-furnished one cheaper then furnish it with stuff bought at IKEA or used, online at craigslist or Kijiji. Both of those websites are good for rentals as well, also check and the local papers.

-You can pick up a decent car for $2-5K

-The electrical union is the IBEW local 424, google it and contact them, they can answer some questions. There's also CLAC, a sham union but they have lots of work all over western Canada.

-I listed basically all of the contractor companies in this thread that hire electricians (Kiewit, PCL, Chemco, JV Driver, Flint Energy Services, etc). Contact them and see what they say.

Another forum member recently moved to Calgary and got a job pretty quick with an electrical company, I'm pretty sure they're going to indenture him and he'll likely be off to school for a couple of months within a year to complete his first block of the four year apprencticeship.

Don’t sweat the petty things, pet the sweaty things.
12-12-2012 09:59 AM
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Messages In This Thread
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - scotian - 12-12-2012 09:59 AM
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM