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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!
(02-01-2013 05:37 AM)Scoop Wrote:  This is the most remarkable thread I have ever come across. It took me ages to read it all and then a week before I could post a reply. My thanks to everyone who has contributed and especially Scotian who started it and who has filled it with positive energy.

I’m hoping that a couple of you may be able to give me some advice.

I’m English and I’m 50 years old. A long time ago I did a BSc and a Masters degree in Civil Engineering. I worked in construction for 4 years and then I started my own business in wholesale, nothing to do with engineering. For many years I did very well but one bad investment left me on the ropes.

As the recession hit I started a business cleaning wheelie bins (trash cans) in my town in England, which I reckon is a bit like Scotian’s “100 miles East of Buttfuck Nowhere”. I did OK and with my wife’s salary we got along.

Sadly my wife became ill recently (cancer) and she has had to stop work. She’s ok and treatment has gone really well, but she just can’t work. This has left me with a broken heart and a financial problem, and with two kids (17 and 12) things are getting tight.

I thought about the oil sands a while ago. My sister emigrated to Canada twenty years ago and now lives in Calgary. I’ve got free accommodation there for as long as I want, a luxury most aren’t fortunate enough to have. I’m old but I’m keen. I’m 6’5” and I can work long hours in bad weather. I don’t care what I do. I’m perfectly happy for someone to say “There’s your shovel and there’s your shit” as long as I get paid. I speak and write fluent French, having worked in France for 13 years (although I never met a Canadian who actually spoke French outside Quebec. It’s just on the banknotes and the tins of sweetcorn, so not much use in AB).

The problem is that in order to get a job I need a Temporary Work Permit. And in order to get a Temporary Work Permit I need a job. And as Scotian and others have pointed out, the best way to get a job at my level is to turn up in person.

So I’m ready to roll. Thanks to the guidance on this thread I can do all the things Irishman and others so brilliantly did and get my driving licence and certificates, and a $500 truck (I’m already dreaming about my $500 truck) and hustle with my CV. But if I get a job then I have to come back to England and wait about 90 days for my work permit. Will any employer keep a job open for that long for a shit-shoveller? And my age? The whole thrust of this thread is that it’s a young mans game. I’m as strong and fit as most 25 year olds but I can’t hide the fact that I am 50 years old. Is that “we’ll give you a try” age, or is it “piss off and die” age?

I want to come. I think I can give something to the Oil Sands. But I can’t go on a vacation to Calgary and then find out that I’m no use to anyone. I can’t waste that kind of money. So my question is really do I stand a reasonable chance of finding a job?

I know some might wonder why I would want to leave my wife when she’s ill but she’s the one cheerleading me on to get out to Alberta.

I think that you should be able to get a job, maybe even a really good one considering your education and work experience. 50 isn't really that old, I've worked with lots of older guys in their late 60s, you should be able to find something decent.

Too bad that your money is tight because it will likely be hard to find something without comign to Alberta first, but you may as well try by applying online and contacting companies over the phone to see what happens.

If you can save up enough money to book a flight to Calgary and stay there for 3-4 weeks and apply to as many jobs as possible and see how many leads you can get before flying back, that would probably work.

I try not to be overly optimistic on this thread and don't blow smoke up guys' asses with regards to what their potential employment prospects are. You'll see throughout the thread that I always say that guys' shouldn't expect to walk into a 100K job with no experience, you'll have to work for 6 months+ before finding something good, etc.

However, since I wrote the thread there have been several guys who have moved out and pretty much walked into apprenticeships, got on the rigs and are basically now making huge money so maybe I shouldn't have been so pessimistic, its just really busy in Alberta now so guys get out there and see what happens.

Your educations+work experience+language skills will get you points in the "point system" that our immigration system runs on.

Your French language skills won't help you out much but here's one little known secret: the French speaking province of Quebec is the only province in Canada which handles their own immigration policy in order to get French speaking immigrants. A lot of Francophones move to Quebec first then get the hell out and move to Ontario or Alberta where the economies are better, so keep that in mind just in case.

Don’t sweat the petty things, pet the sweaty things.
02-03-2013 12:21 AM
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Messages In This Thread
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - scotian - 02-03-2013 12:21 AM
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM