Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

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

Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

I'm an 18 year old with no experience. I am interested in working in Fort McMurray next summer - I'm wondering if it is a worthwhile investment to try to get some additional certifications before the summer, like maybe:

-a Welder's Cert
-a Class 1 driver's license

before I head up north (I'm in Vancouver right now, home is Ottawa).

I'm already a lifeguard, not too sure what good those first aid cert's will give me.

Otherwise I'll probably just end up being a labourer.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby Chickpea » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:31 pm

to start with we have a pool here that may hire you as a lifeguard, it is best to get into the Keyano programs then into the site jobs through co-op terms
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby MacDaddy » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:14 am

Will a nice catholic boy like you succeed here? Well, that depends on your ideas of success. Are you talking summer student employment or a career with a high school diploma (I hope you have this at least)? As summer employment I think you an make more money compared to other locations but you are going to pay lots more for rent and travel getting here. If you are planning a labourer position as a career move I can only say think again my friend unless you have very low expectations to meet your success threshold.

Think more in terms of needing to learn more. Go to school or qualify for a trade. Get something that makes you happy and take pride in it. Then go out into this world looking for a career doing what you love. Only then will you be successful.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby ProAgnoDei » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:48 pm

MacDaddy wrote:Will a nice catholic boy like you succeed here? Well, that depends on your ideas of success. Are you talking summer student employment or a career with a high school diploma (I hope you have this at least)? As summer employment I think you an make more money compared to other locations but you are going to pay lots more for rent and travel getting here. If you are planning a labourer position as a career move I can only say think again my friend unless you have very low expectations to meet your success threshold.

Think more in terms of needing to learn more. Go to school or qualify for a trade. Get something that makes you happy and take pride in it. Then go out into this world looking for a career doing what you love. Only then will you be successful.


I'm not Catholic, and I'm not looking for a career, just a summer job. My career has to do with computer science and linguistics. However, as university is expensive, I'm looking to make some nice coin this summer. I have no skills, so obviously the best money I could make would be working as an unskilled labourer.

However, if it were possible to, say, take a 5-week welding course, or go to a driving school to get my class 1, for a reasonable price and then that would get me a better paying job up in Fort MacMurray, that would be swell. This is what I'm talking about - I have no intentions of working in Fort McMurray for more than a few summers at most.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby mcmurrian » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:48 pm

If you are planning to have career in IT, you would be better off if you could find a summer job in IT field or do some contract work where you can build up your portfolio. It will help you way more after you graduate.
Try to apply to Microsoft they have an office in Vancouver, they always hire students for summer.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby MacDaddy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:35 am

I agree. Any premium you may earn working here for the summer will be negated by your high living expenses and moving costs. Have you considered taking some summer classes and finding a work study position on campus? You could lighten your course load for the following school year and continue with the work study program in the fall. This is an opportunity to make money and get some hands on experience that often is lacking in university programs.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby Tropics » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:42 am

Traveling up to Fort McMurray to work for a summer term while living in town (aka paying rent and not living in camp) is not going to net you much money at the end if it all. Short term rental accomodation is very expensive in town and cheaper single room landlords nornally want at least a six month lease commitment. Most employers are not going to pay you much for a short work term as the first few weeks of a new employee is a rightoff due to training. If you aim to work on site you would spend the first week or so simply getting site orientations, whims, h2s, ossa, and any other tickets you might need. If they want you to be able to drive in site that US another 3 days of training.

There is very little a short term worker offers companies in this town due to the high costs they incur on a new employee so I would not count on coming up here and having a company hire you and pay you the big bucks for a summer or two of unskilled labor.

In order for this town to actually start paying off it requires a long term commitment. The first 6 months I was up here I was breaking even paycheck to paycheck. Only after that period and getting settled in did I start to see a return on my moving here.
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Re: Is it possible to succeed in Fort Mac?

Unread postby Yossarian » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:04 pm

Most employers look to hire local summer students first and some are only. Having said that the RMWB, Syncrude and Syncrude usually have many summer postings. Mac Island is always looking for life guards. As for whether or not you can make money, yes you can. Your rent will be 800 a month but you'll earn 18-25 per hour if you can find work. If you work as an unskilled labourer you'll be in the 25-30 range.
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