Interested in a career in the trades?
An apprenticeship can be a smart and viable option for those starting out in their careers, or for those interested in switching career paths. It provides hands-on training before the completion of the program. In fact, that’s the point.
Trades are critical to maintaining and optimizing Canada’s oil and gas operations. Tradespeople account for 18,000 (or approximately 10 per cent) of total employment in Canada’s upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors. Within the next five years, the industry may need to fill 1,400 job openings due to expansion/growth and potentially close to 2,000 due to retirements. Trades are critical to maintaining and optimizing oil and gas operations.
Trades occupations with the greatest number of job openings are heavy-duty equipment mechanics, millwrights, industrial electricians, welders, steamfitters and pipefitters. The majority will see labour and skill shortages in 2018 and 2019.
Aside from being involved in direct oil and gas operations, trades also play a big role within indirect sectors of the industry including construction and maintenance, manufacturing, etc.
Many secondary schools across Canada now offer early training for trades where students can earn credits towards their apprenticeships.
If you’re not certain you want to undertake a full apprenticeship but want exposure to the trade and to earn basic safety certificates, your apprenticeship can also start with a pre-apprenticeship program.
Those interested in a full apprenticeship need to find an employer to take them on as a student of the trade. This guarantees job-focused, practical learning combined with formal instruction.
To enter an apprentice training contract in a trade you have to be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Once you’re hired, registration at your local apprenticeship office is required.
According to Alberta Advanced Education, about 80 per cent of an apprentice’s training is done “on the job” with a certified journeyperson or qualified individual. The other 20 per cent of training is done through an approved technical training provider – usually a post-secondary institution.
If you want to advance through the training, you are required to successfully complete the technical training period and industry examinations in addition to finishing the hours and months of on-the-job training that’s required for each period of the apprenticeship program. A Journeyman Certificate is awarded once you’ve met all program requirements. The time to complete an apprenticeship can vary between one and four years depending on the trade.
More than 90 per cent of apprentices report that trades are a good career option, and that an apprenticeship program is the best way to learn a trade according to a National Apprenticeship Survey in 2015.
To find out more about the trades and how they fit into the petroleum industry, visit our Career Explorer tool.