oil sands career help

What is the best place to work in Fort McMurray? Share your experiences.

oil sands career help

Hi guys am new to this forum,and I really need some help.Am hoping to move up to fort mcmurray in april or may to hopefully get a job in the oilsands either as a long haul 797 operator or a heavy equipment operator,This is not a short time move am hoping to stay their for maybe 10-15years,I have no ties to where I currently live,no family,girlfriend etc and the town I live in hasn’t much going for it as in work or job oppurunties.I think fort mcmurray has lots going for it,and this where i want to start a career.My dream would to get a job as a long haul operator or in heavy equipment operator and work my way up and live in camp maybe with cnrl or syncrude.Is their anybody that could give me some information how I could possibly do this,I have no liesence or certs at the moment,so what do i need to get to improve my chances,I have looked into joining kenayo college but I cant afford it,Is there any other company that provides heavy equipment or long haul 797 training courses,Also is their any other courses like first aid that could improve my resume that would help me get a better job,when i move to fort mcmurray am just going to start pounding the pavements look for work,where is the best places to go to,and which oil sand companies are the best to work for.I would appreciate any information that would help me,thanks guys. :)
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby BoredInFortMac » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:36 pm

First, stop classifying 797's as 'long haul' :) Generally when you're on going from point A to point B with a 797 the trip can be as little as 20 feet away or as much as a half hour drive across the mine. Just depends on what you're assigned and most mines have touch screen systems in the truck that tells you were to go (eg: Shovel 7 to Crusher) as the dispatch system is heavily computerized. Also you don't need any special type of license to operatre heavy hauler trucks. Note that 797 operators are called Heavy Equipment Operators. This title includes other equipment such as dozers, graders and so forth. Typical progression of a Heavy Equipment Operator starts off as a 797 driver (easiest thing to do) and moves onto more challenging things like operating dozers, graders and other mobile support equipment.

To work on any site you will need to get your OSSA and CSTS ticket. Those are both day courses and covers general rules specific to oil sand mines and sites. You can get them in town at various training places including the local college. Having other certifications like First Aid are nice, but not required.

Keyano College is the only place that offers simulator based training on 797's and that's really recognized by any of the companies up here. If you have experience operating heavy equipment then you're more likely to get on with some contractor operating equipment. CNRL is the only company that i'm aware of that offers camp for it's Heavy Equipment Operators (797's fall under this umbrella). There are smaller contractor firms like North American Construction Group, and Ledcor that may offer camp.

One thing I DO NOT recommend is just arriving here without something lined up. It's not like it was before (pre-2009 recession) where everyone was fighting for people. It's at a point now where the oil companies, and contractors, are being fussy over who they hire and it could take quite a while to get hired. I know of one person who took years of working for smaller contractors before she got hired with Company X and behind the seat of a 797. With regards to which oil company is good to work for, they're all the same in the end.

If anyone else has anything to add feel free to comment. I took the Mine Ops course (the old Heavy Hauler course at Keyano) back in 2009 and been at Company X since then so i'm not sure what else is going on outside of my little bubble.
BoredInFortMac
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby merchant » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:45 am

Hey BoredInFortMac, thanks for the awesome reply, I've been looking for some nice talks on the 797s'!
I hope you have the time to answer some more questions, I'm serious about moving and you've already helped me a lot!
I'm finishing up a two-year non relevant business diploma from a Toronto,Ontario college and looking for work in the Fort.

The 797s' sing to me! No question about it, it's what I want to do.

I'm in the process of financially planning out how much living expenses is going to cost me, initial costs (education, truck, licenses, certifications, 1st+last rent (damage), and how much I'll be making.

In your best experience, what's an ideal time to apply for a job? I'll be clear from Toronto at the end of April. Should I wait till April to apply or do it now? Also being out of town, what's the best way to apply? Fly-in for the day and shake hands, online resume, or telephone calls?

I'm serious about investing time and money into this. Keyano College seems like a nice, albeit pricey, option. Your take?

I'm looking at initial 5 year hustle in the sands, given I get a good paying job.

Re-Cap:

1) When should I apply? I can start May 1st, 2013.
2) Keyano College, worth it?

Thank you sir/ma'am.
merchant
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby merchant » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:48 am

BoredInFortMac...

Given you the drive the rock trucks (Cat 797s'/Kamatsus 785s'), could you give us a little story on how it's like to live and work as one?

Thank you!
merchant
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby BoredInFortMac » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:50 pm

Sorry about the delayed reply. I didn't think anyone was reading this.

There isin't any 'best time' to apply. Oil sands mining runs year round 365 days a year 24hrs a day and don't expect to have statute holidays off even if it falls on your work schedule. Unlike oil rigs, we don't have a spring break up or anything like that.

As for you being from out of town, usually companies here want to hire local people unless you're qualified for a position that can't be filled locally like a Journeyman Electrician or Millwright. Usually what people do when they're from out of town is to use a family member or good friend address here. The only issue with that if you're called for an interview, you'd need to fly up quickly. They also tend to have 1st and second interviews so it's obviously convenient to be physically here. One thing to note is that most companies (contractor or oil co) do their recruiting online. This means that paper resumes are rarely taken. Oil companies for a fact do not take paper resumes even if you walk into one of their town offices. For your convenience here's the websites for the big four oil companies here in no particular order:

http://www.syncrude.ca
http://www.suncor.com
http://www.shell.ca
http://www.cnrl.com

One other avenue is through the local Operators Union. I believe it's Operator Engineer Union 955. The only downside to contractors is that there isin't much in the way of job security and pay is less, but sometimes you get benefits like camp (housing and food). Oil company HEO's don't get camp as you're expected to be part of the community, except for CNRL.

I personally think that the Keyano College Haul Truck operator course is your best bet as they only work with the oil companies, and not contractors. Yes it is pricey as I took it before in 2009.

What is it about driving a 797 that gets your attention? I find the best suited people in my experience are people who love to work with their hands operating heavy equipment, and don't have any interest working in an office at any point.
BoredInFortMac
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby BoredInFortMac » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:59 pm

Just a comment on renting. Not sure if you had the opportunity to research renting but it's here's some info:

Furnished single room in a house with shared bathroom/kitchen etc., ~$900/mth. Usually includes utilities, phone calls but sometimes the utilities are split up by the total number of people in the house.

Basement suite: ~$2000 (own bathroom, with kitchenette, possibly off street parking)
Legal basement suite $2500ish. This would include off street parking, full kitchen and probably utilities.
1br apartment $1500+
2br apartment $2500+
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby Jouissante » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:40 pm

Hello! I am looking to work for suncor and am wondering what the days off are like. I would be interested in travelling home to Sudbury on my days off. What do you think. Can I swing it? Also, are the jobs at suncor worth the pay? What salary am I looking at. I have a masters degree working for peanuts! I'm looking at anything but office work. I was thinking of doing the heavy haul truck course or power engineering or management? Anything will do. I just want a decent pay with ample time off. Can anyone suggest? Thank you so much!
Jouissante
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby palmseed » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:30 pm

It sounds like you would fit in perfectly as a haul truck driver. Suncor hands out those jobs to anyone who asks for one, especially if they are from Ontario. Most of the jobs at Suncor are not worth the pay they offer. You do know that there are many other companies up here that you might be able to work for, but they don't hand out jobs like Suncor does.
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Location: Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby Jouissante » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:50 am

Hello so are you saying that suncor doesn't pay well? And do you know what the shift rotation would be? Do you have any recommendations of companies that pay well with ample time off to allow for travelling? Thanks.
Jouissante
 
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Re: oil sands career help

Unread postby palmseed » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:28 am

I was being a little sarcastic. Suncor pays well but the jobs are worth less than what they pay, but that's why everyone comes here to work, right? It's nice to be paid twice as much as the same job would pay anywhere else. I can't speak for anything other than the power engineering course. If you are planning on doing the coop course here, go for it. Just don't try to get a job after taking a PE computer course. It will not work for you at all. If you can afford to live here and take the course, I am sure it will be worth it.
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