Did you know that there are over two-hundred skilled trades in
Canada? Many people don't realize how important trades are to the
petroleum industry. Lucrative and long-term career opportunities
are waiting for you in an oil and gas trade.
You will find certified trades people designing, building,
operating and maintaining petroleum facilities and pipelines across
the country. They also work for fabrication, maintenance and
transportation companies that are suppliers to the industry.
Imagine being an Electrician or Instrument Mechanic on a heavy
oil upgrader, a gas processing facility, or an offshore extraction
facility. Perhaps you'd rather repair heavy-duty equipment like the
enormous trucks used in mining oil sand or transporting oil and
gas. You may choose to operate a drilling rig or design and
fabricate pipe. There are endless options in the trades!
Are you a hands-on person? Do you like to be physically active
and constantly on the move? Do you have a knack for working with
tools, computers, instruments and machinery? Does the idea of 'earn
while you learn' appeal to you? A trade in the petroleum industry
may be the perfect career for you!
What does a Tradesperson in Oil and Gas do?
Trades in Oil and Gas offer many options.
- Crane Operators:
Operate cranes or draglines to lift, move or place machinery,
equipment and other large objects. They perform equipment
inspection and maintenance, rigging, and crane set-up.
- Heavy-Duty Equipment
Mechanics or Technicians: Maintain and repair heavy-duty
engines and support systems, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and
suspension and brake systems.
Electricians: Install, maintain, and repair industrial
electrical equipment such as wiring and lighting systems, high
voltage power distribution systems, and emergency or standby
- Industrial Instrument
Mechanics: Install, maintain, calibrate and program
monitoring, measurement and/or control instruments.
Mechanics/Millwrights: Install, dismantle, rebuild or move
stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment such as
pumps, turbines and compressors.
- Insulators: Apply
insulation materials to pipelines, plumbing, heating, cooling and
refrigeration systems, and pressure vessels.
- Machinists: Set up
and operate machine tools to cut or grind metal, plastic or other
materials to make or modify products.
- Rig Technicians:
Operate oil and gas drilling rigs. They maintain drilling rig
engines, transmissions, generators, motors and other mechanical
- Steamfitters and
Pipefitters: Build and maintain piping systems used to
produce or transport oil and gas.
- Welders: Operate
welding equipment to weld metals using various cutting, gouging and
welding processes. Applications include pipelines, rigs, plants and
How do I become a Tradesperson?
Academic requirements vary by trade and province or territory. A
high school diploma is recommended. To obtain Certified Journey
person status, you must complete an apprenticeship and pass an
examination. To begin the process, you select a trade, find an
employer to sponsor your apprenticeship, and register with the
provincial or territorial apprenticeship office. You then earnwhile
Review the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program at www.red-seal.ca. Follow the links
providedfor local information.
What are the working conditions like?
Trades work in office buildings, plant sites, fabrication shops,
and field or construction sites. They may work in remote locations
and live in camp-settings. Jobs can be labour-intensive and
physically demanding. You might work in confined spaces, in awkward
positionsor at heights. You could be exposed to dirt, dust, noise,
fumes and inclement weather. Personal tools, transportation and a
driver's license with a clean abstract may be required. Some
positions work a 40-hour, five-day workweek while others work
shifts, week-ends, overtime and on-call. Appropriate time off is
given depending on the shift.
Do I fit the bill?
Do you think you have what it takes to become a
- I have a knack for working with
tools, computers, instruments and machinery.
- I enjoy building things and seeing
results of my efforts.
- I am curious about how things fit
together and operate.
- I can read, understand and follow
- I apply an orderly and precise
approach to problem-solving.
- I am physically fit.
- I can follow safety rules and
precautions, and understand their importance when dealing with
potentially hazardous material and equipment.
- I have the tolerance, stamina and
flexibility to work outdoors in any weather conditions.
- I can handle considerable travel to
and from work locations.
- I can work on my own or with a team.q
I can work rotational shifts and long hours, and do not mind
changes in routine.
- believe that I have what it takes to
be an excellent Tradesperson!
Quick tips and next steps!
- Review the Guide to
Apprenticeship and the About Skilled Trades and
Apprenticeship Presentation available at: www.careersintrades.ca.
- Review Skills Canada information at:
- Check into pre-apprenticeship
programs for high school students. You can earn credits toward
apprenticeships with early training in the trades and opportunities
to try working on-the-job.
- Compare apprenticeship training
programs that are available across Canada at: www.ellischart.ca.
- Visit career fairs and talk to
employers who offer jobs and careers in this occupation. Check with
employment centres, educational institutions, newspapers,
petroleum-related magazines and the internet for information on
- Talk to a tradesperson to find out
what their work involves, what skills are important to have, who
typically hires and other helpful information.
Want more info?
For information on other industry occupations check out