Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!

CJ

Pelican
First off, thanks for taking the time to post all that great information. I know a lot of members from this site will get a lot out of that.

Second, my background:

- I'm a US Citizen
- I've got a bachelor's degree in business & economics
- Most jobs I've taken since graduating (in 2006) have been labor intensive, however, none have been in a specific trade. I suppose the most relevant work I've done is some auditing for the auto industry.
- I presently work for an airline, so I could easily travel up there to 'check it out'

So, my question is, would I be qualified to get a blue collar job in the oil fields? If not, would my background possibly qualify me for a white collar job helping to run the business in the oil fields?

I'm curious as to what type of opportunity I'd have to make some serious money here. I doubt I'd spend an eternity up there, although it would be nice to be somewhere that appreciates hockey as much as I do. Course, I suppose I am in one of the two US cities that actually does like hockey, but our employment rate is atrocious, and I need better options.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
raliv said:
how experienced a welder do you have to be to get a job with one of the companies up there? Certified obviously but is there a threshold of years of experience they demand?

You don't need any experience in theory(it definitely won't hurt!), you could get hired on as a welder's helper, basically a labourer's job, you'd make around $20/hr starting out and if you played your cards right, the company would enlist you into the provincial apprenticeship programme. After about 6 months of field work, you'd to to school for 6-8 weeks and do this 3 times over the course of 3-4 years, after each school session you'd get a raise until you hit the top journey man rate, which in most trades is $40-45/hour, plus about $6hr into you pension. So if you're 18, by the time you're 21-22 you WILL (theres no grey area here!) be making about 150K, you'll get paid to go to school and make big money during your 4 year apprecticeship, I have a friend who is 25 and hasn't made less than 100K/year since he was 17!

Or, you could take a Bachelor of Arts in basket weaving and women's studies and graduate with 30K in debt!

As for Americans or anyone else, you'd have to prove your skills when you get to Canada through some tests. I'm not too familiar with that process, but if they can bring in a few thousand Filipino and Indian welders each year, I imagine they'll recognize USA certificates. Welders would likely need their B pressure ticket and all other processes (SMAW,GMAW,FCAW,TIG,etc), for more info you can check out the American Welding Society ( http://www.aws.org).

Welding is an excellent trade, contract rig welders in the Mac make $100-120/hr, 80-100 hrs week, do the math on a 24 on 4 off rotation! Warning, welding ain't for pussies, its a trade many guys learn IN JAIL! lol, there's so much riff raff in the trades, its great....this isn't the place to work if you have thin skin or are easily offended, working in the trades esp. in fort mac, is like being in a locker room all the time. Its a male dominated environment, not many women around you don't have to walk on egg shells, worrying about offending anyone, I get told to fuck off and tell other guys to go fuck themselves multiple times everyday, wouldn't have it any other way!
 

sylo

Woodpecker
Great post man. I hate to keep repeating the 'will this experiance work for me' question but I have a degree in Marketing. WTF can I do up there?
 

pitt

Hummingbird
Gold Member
CJ said:
First off, thanks for taking the time to post all that great information. I know a lot of members from this site will get a lot out of that.

Second, my background:

- I'm a US Citizen
- I've got a bachelor's degree in business & economics
- Most jobs I've taken since graduating (in 2006) have been labor intensive, however, none have been in a specific trade. I suppose the most relevant work I've done is some auditing for the auto industry.
- I presently work for an airline, so I could easily travel up there to 'check it out'

So, my question is, would I be qualified to get a blue collar job in the oil fields? If not, would my background possibly qualify me for a white collar job helping to run the business in the oil fields?

I'm curious as to what type of opportunity I'd have to make some serious money here. I doubt I'd spend an eternity up there, although it would be nice to be somewhere that appreciates hockey as much as I do. Course, I suppose I am in one of the two US cities that actually does like hockey, but our employment rate is atrocious, and I need better options.

Interesting background

You could join the health and safety field. Safety is mainly about auditing and inspecting areas, sites, scaffolders, tanks, etc

Because you have done auditing for the auto industry, that would qualify you as having experience.

There is this sunderland university ( in the UK) that runs a post graduation course online, with that degree in hands i think you could easily join the oil industry.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
Neo said:
I'd be all over this is I had a trade. Growing up I wanted to be an electrician or mechanic, but of course I was brainwashed into the 'you have to go to college or you won't amount to anything' route. I could care less about living in a work camp or shitty conditions, I'd do it for the cash. I looked at some of the companies you posted and it still seems like they require some experience. If I could take courses for 6 months in a trade and it guaranteed me a job there I'd definitely go for it.

I graduated with a BA after 5 years of uni in 06', I worked at a call centre getting bitched at people whose cell phones were smarter than them, at $12/hr, I made $24G in 07' back east.

I took a chance and moved to Alberta with $1500 to my name took a 12 week pre-employment at a community college (look up Lethbridge college,SAIT,Red Deer College, NAIT, Keyano college).

08' grossed 65K- 10K in pension 2 months layoff AKA party! (remember when oil plunged big time?)
09' grossed 80- 13k in pension 3 weeks vacation (in the middle of the worst recession in decades, I couldn't get any more time off work we were so busy!)
10'(started working in Fort Mac) -grossed 120K 22K in pension 5 weeks off
11-Grossed around 135-140K, forget pension (25K?), 3 months off!

Guys those numbers are low, I took some easy low paying (good experience though) jobs for lifestyle reasons, I know many guys in Fort Mac who are MACHINES and work 24 on 4 off ALL YEAR (maybe 1 or 2 weeks off, max!), and gross 250-350K, power to those guys but I don't think its really worth it to work that much, I'd rather work 6 months and take my 100K then peace out!

Damn I'm giving you guys some handy intel here, I wonder how many will make the move?

I just hope that guys, especially Canadians, who think about moving out, or know someone who is interested, will do so, I'd love to work with more people who read forums like this and have similar interests and less meat heads like these guys (from the movie FUBAR):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iZqfzQmruI (that plant is Syncrude, you can see the camp at 0:17)

"The workers comp hustle": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBAmItGExlY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mceMfWmJp0U

Those videos accurately reflect the types of shit heads I work with on a regular basis!
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
pitt said:
CJ said:
First off, thanks for taking the time to post all that great information. I know a lot of members from this site will get a lot out of that.

Second, my background:

- I'm a US Citizen
- I've got a bachelor's degree in business & economics
- Most jobs I've taken since graduating (in 2006) have been labor intensive, however, none have been in a specific trade. I suppose the most relevant work I've done is some auditing for the auto industry.
- I presently work for an airline, so I could easily travel up there to 'check it out'

So, my question is, would I be qualified to get a blue collar job in the oil fields? If not, would my background possibly qualify me for a white collar job helping to run the business in the oil fields?

I'm curious as to what type of opportunity I'd have to make some serious money here. I doubt I'd spend an eternity up there, although it would be nice to be somewhere that appreciates hockey as much as I do. Course, I suppose I am in one of the two US cities that actually does like hockey, but our employment rate is atrocious, and I need better options.

Interesting background

You could join the health and safety field. Safety is mainly about auditing and inspecting areas, sites, scaffolders, tanks, etc

Because you have done auditing for the auto industry, that would qualify you as having experience.

There is this sunderland university ( in the UK) that runs a post graduation course online, with that degree in hands i think you could easily join the oil industry.

Pitt, good info man, safety is very fast growing industry, its huge in the oil sands, actually I find it a bit much when I have to do a half an hour of paper work and safety checks before I do a simple task that takes 20 seconds, but oh well, I'm paid by the hour!

For anyone looking into getting into safety, check out these to companies: http://www.hseintegrated.com/ and http://www.unitedsafety.net/

I know for a fact that these two companies hire inexperienced newbies off the street, probably $18-22/hour doing safety watch for confined space entry, gas monitoring in vessels, ensuring SCBA/SABA ensuring oxygen cylinders are full and maintained, etc.

Also, those other 2 I mention, clean harbors and and CEDA hire guys off the street.

Guys the bar is low here for workers, if you can pass a piss test, wake up at 5am and go to work, you've got it made. Take those 2 safety courses I wrote about above and call different companies, its not that complicated, this year will be THE BUSIEST in Fort Mac since the last boom.

CJ, you'll have to look more into the visa requirements, but our immigration system goes on points and with a uni degree and English language skills, you should be good to go. You don't necessarily have to work in Fort Mac either, lots of well paying office jobs in places like Edmonton and Calgary (which is home to over 30,000 expat Americans).

Try looking into multinational USA companies that have OPS in Canada.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
From the United Safety website (career section): http://careers.unitedsafety.net/2012/01/were-hiring-spread-word.html#more


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We're hiring! Spread the word!
Filed under: Alberta, EHS Coordinator, Foreman, Ft. McMurray, H2S Safety Supervisor, Now Hiring, Register for this position, Safety Careers, Safety Jobs, Safety Technician, Safety Watch
We have hundreds of open positions we are looking to fill! Are you interested in a career in safety services? Contact us and introduce yourself. We're hiring junior and senior positions.

We're ramping up for March 1 and we have a positions that will suit your level of experience. We're looking for candidates who have no safety experience, we'll train you and start you on your way. We're looking for candidates who have worked in the energy sector, and are looking for careers in safety services. We're looking for experienced safety personnel for leadership positions. We've got a position for anyone who's motivated to start or develop their career in safety services.

Learn more about United Safety at UnitedSafety.net

Apply for this position:
Form: Fill out the form on this page, in "job title" indicate the position you are applying for (if not sure, put "Safety Watch").
Email your resume: [email protected]
Fax: (403) 948-5190
Mail: United Safety Ltd.
Attn: Recruitment & Training
104 East Lake Road NE
Airdrie, AB T4A 2J8

We thank all applicants for their interest in United Safety. All resumes will be reviewed and short-listed candidates will be contacted.

“Working safe is a condition of employment.” United Safety is an equal opportunity employer and encourages a diverse workforce.


THERE YOU GO INEXPERIENCED GUYS (espeically Canadians): if you want to work an insane amount of hours from March til about mid-November (18-22/hr), apply to this job, get a few bucks together and move out to Alberta. They may even fly you out, they will train you, house you and feed you (you will have 0 expenses, just don't party too hard and piss it away!)....go work 7-9 months, save about 3k per month (you can save 20K EASY), then come party with me in Thailand next winter!

You're welcome.
 

pitt

Hummingbird
Gold Member
As scotian said, i am also really wondering who is going to move there after all this info provided by scotian.

If i wasnt working in the safety field now, i would be flying my ass to Fort Mac so i could work there in any type of position. But i am wondering who here will have the balls to make a move to Fort Mac. Guys thinking of doing it, just dont be scaried to fail, take 5k dollars as pocket money and you should be fine.

Soon as you arrive in Fort Mac and you dont find a job, just get any type of work you can find. I believe the macdonalds there or any type of bar jobs pay quiet good (15 dollars per hour minimum if im not mistaken), so do any type of job till you get that job in the oil field.

Specially the younger ones, dont be scaried to try it, MAN up.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
Hey Americans, I forgot all about this place, you guys have your own Fort Mac style boom town in you own back yard, Williston North Dakota!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/us/north-dakota-oil-boom-creates-camps-of-men.html?pagewanted=all

The Bakken oil field (which stretches into Canada) is huge and crazy busy now, if you really want to get into the oil biz, why not move there, get the experience and make some good, quick cash then explore other options, such as working in Canada. Remember, if you want to come to Canada, the visa process can be a very loooong one, it could be a year or more before you get one!

One thing though, this is a different type of oil than we have in Fort Mac, its mostly rig work there if I'm not mistaken, Fort Mac is oil sands mining with on-site upgraders and refineries, I personally would never work on an oil rig!!!
 
I'm almost positive that I'm going to get into this. I'm just trying to decide how and when ito do it since I'm in school. I'm not down with just going up there without a job waiting for me.
 

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Gold Member
scotian said:
I graduated with a BA after 5 years of uni in 06', I worked at a call centre getting bitched at people whose cell phones were smarter than them, at $12/hr, I made $24G in 07' back east.

I took a chance and moved to Alberta with $1500 to my name took a 12 week pre-employment at a community college (look up Lethbridge college,SAIT,Red Deer College, NAIT, Keyano college).

08' grossed 65K- 10K in pension 2 months layoff AKA party! (remember when oil plunged big time?)
09' grossed 80- 13k in pension 3 weeks vacation (in the middle of the worst recession in decades, I couldn't get any more time off work we were so busy!)
10'(started working in Fort Mac) -grossed 120K 22K in pension 5 weeks off
11-Grossed around 135-140K, forget pension (25K?), 3 months off!

Guys those numbers are low, I took some easy low paying (good experience though) jobs for lifestyle reasons, I know many guys in Fort Mac who are MACHINES and work 24 on 4 off ALL YEAR (maybe 1 or 2 weeks off, max!), and gross 250-350K, power to those guys but I don't think its really worth it to work that much, I'd rather work 6 months and take my 100K then peace out!

Damn I'm giving you guys some handy intel here, I wonder how many will make the move?

I just hope that guys, especially Canadians, who think about moving out, or know someone who is interested, will do so, I'd love to work with more people who read forums like this and have similar interests and less meat heads like these guys (from the movie FUBAR):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iZqfzQmruI (that plant is Syncrude, you can see the camp at 0:17)

"The workers comp hustle": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBAmItGExlY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mceMfWmJp0U

Those videos accurately reflect the types of shit heads I work with on a regular basis!

Great info scotian. I'd jump on this in a second. I just got laid off, and there's shit around here for jobs. Thing is I'm American, so if I need a trade to get in and work there I'd have to pursue that first. I actually like blue collar work and growing up my dad and relatives that's all they did.

I got a decent chunk of money saved, so if I need courses I can take them. Any more info you can give let me now. Like if you have American friends up there ask them what they did to get in. Ill take a look at those sites, and apply for the fuck of it.

I found this link too don't know if it's been posted:

http://www.fortmcmurrayonline.com/jobs/welcome.aspx
 

CJ

Pelican
Wow, thanks again Scotian! That's really going out of your way to help. This is great info, and could be what I need to get my career back on track. I was a little apprehensive to make the jump to Asia with YMG, but I'm very comfortable with Canada. I wonder if all the time I spent in Windsor between the ages of 19 and 20, will count for anything? All jokes aside, hopefully you'll be seeing me up there sooner than later.
 

MiXX

Crow
scotian said:
I took some easy low paying (good experience though) jobs for lifestyle reasons, I know many guys in Fort Mac who are MACHINES and work 24 on 4 off ALL YEAR (maybe 1 or 2 weeks off, max!), and gross 250-350K, power to those guys but I don't think its really worth it to work that much, I'd rather work 6 months and take my 100K then peace out!


True. True. I myself have taken lesser paying jobs at times because I really am at a stage in my life where money is no longer a priority for me - I got plenty, so now, at age 37, I just sustain myself with EASY gigs that facilitate 3-4 months off per year without breaking a sweat or worrying about $$$ when I am NOT working.


I was a corporate slave for many years, chasing a carrot on a stick corner office, a fine secretary I could not touch, and over 500k base annual salary - fuck that, no more.

4 month easy gigs/4months off is definitely the life for me!


Mixx
 

sheesh

Woodpecker
MiXX said:
I was a corporate slave for many years, chasing a carrot on a stick corner office, a fine secretary I could not touch, and over 500k base annual salary - fuck that, no more.

500k...chapeau. What field are you in ?

I'm currently making slightly above 50k Euros annually before taxes as an MD in Germany - 1 year out of university. Always looking for other options, lol.
 

MiXX

Crow
sheesh said:
MiXX said:
I was a corporate slave for many years, chasing a carrot on a stick corner office, a fine secretary I could not touch, and over 500k base annual salary - fuck that, no more.

500k...chapeau. What field are you in ?

I'm currently making slightly above 50k Euros annually before taxes as an MD in Germany - 1 year out of university. Always looking for other options, lol.

Music, Television, owned 3 technology consulting businesses.

Mixx
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
w00t said:
nice intel scotian!
do the companies do drug-tests?

Yes they do, you will be required to pass a pre-employment urine analysis drugs test as well as an alcohol test.

Basically, don't smoke pot for 3-4 weeks (depends on body type) and you'll be good to go (there's ways around this!).

Also, they do "post incident" testing, so if you trip and break your ankle, you'll be tested, hit something with your truck, you'll be tested and (this one is the worst), if someone hits you (say you're in a parked truck and they back into you), you all have to be piss tested!

Its not something I really agree with, as it tends to push guys away from pot (which I consider to be less harmful than booze) and into harder drugs like crack, meth and Oxys, which leave your system in a couple of days.

Of course its best not to do any drugs, but if you must, its wise to partake when you're NOT at work, especially in an industrial environment!
 

Anon-A-Moose

Kingfisher
any idea on getting in if you're a heavy equipment operator? And do they usually frown on short-term labor? I have a job I want to pursue in July, though, if something like this worked out, I'd not bother.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
Anon-A-Moose said:
any idea on getting in if you're a heavy equipment operator? And do they usually frown on short-term labor? I have a job I want to pursue in July, though, if something like this worked out, I'd not bother.

Dude, there's LOTS of work for heavy equipment operators, LOTS, LOTS, LOTS!!! I'\m not sure what tickets you need exactly but on EVERY job sites there's a need for guys who run excavators, dozers, bobcats, front end loaders. They also run the world's largest dump trucks up there, its like driving a massive house!

Check out these companies for more info: http://www.nacg.ca/
-http://www.thompsonbros.com/
-http://www.finning.ca/
-www.michelscanada.com

Here's a job just for you: http://www.smartrecruiters.com/smartrecruiters150/525449-heavy-equipment-operator

Apply to that one soon, closing date in Jan 31st!!!

Employers are generally cool if you want to work for a couple months then take time off, as long as you give them enough notice so as not to fuck them over, and you are a decent employee, they will take you back. I've jumped ship a few times over the past 4 years, no big deal.

There you go, all the info you need to get a job in the oil sands, damn I should be charging people for this!!!
 
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