Need advice... Lots of it please!

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Need advice... Lots of it please!

Hello! I have a son about six month fresh out of high school and just turned 18. He is bound and determined to go to Fort Mac or somewhere up north to get a job and is planning on leaving sometime in February to look for jobs. Here's the deal:

1 - He plans on getting a job as a labourer but has no construction skills nor has he worked in any trades.
2 - He hopes to get hired on in a camp of some sort and hopes to avoid having to find an apartment or suite.
3 - To my knowledge, he's only tentatively been looking for jobs online so far.

I've been scouring the internet and this forum trying to get a sense of what the situation is really like up there and I am asking for advice I can forward to my son. I appreciate any insights from the members here and I'm hoping MacDaddy will chime in.
dj4761
 
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Location: Victoria, BC

Need advice... Lots of it please!

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Re: Need advice... Lots of it please!

Unread postby MacDaddy » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:29 am

Well, name the devil and he comes running as the saying goes. Here I am.

Your son wouldn't have just had a break up with his high school sweet heart would he? Did he get any type of vocational guidance in school? Usually they go through some form of testing that helps them look at careers that match their interests. The reports will include jobs that cover all levels of education and training. If he has not, I would suggest either seeing a private counsellor or try his school before they forget him. This would at least give him some ideas of what he will actually be happy doing.

Tell him it just isn't that easy to show up with a high school diploma tucked under his arm and expect the good life. The reality is that unskilled employees are not in high demand and he will most likely end up flipping burgers or stocking shelves. Even then, he will be competing with the local high school students for these jobs. Tell him the line "I am not afraid of hard work and want to establish myself" is very overused and doesn't impress anyone. Nepotism runs deep in this neck of the woods and there are enough employees with an extended family member "just finishing high school and wants a job".

Camps are for working employees and not a home. Unless really remote, camps are also for employees they need to keep. Unskilled labour rarely falls in this category, even in this boom town. Should he actually find a camp position, when his shift is over he can look forward to a nice rest in his thousand dollar a month bedroom in an illegal boarding house.

This town is ripe with individuals who look to bleed every penny from folks like your son. Sky high rents, payday loans, store with predatory lines of credit for for all those necessities from video games and big screen televisions to quads, motorcycles and pickup trucks. Yes, wages are higher here, but unless you are a skilled trade or professional the money you make will not be your ticket to financial freedom.

If your son is one of the "I am not afraid of a little hard work" types then advise him to apply some of that bravery to bettering himself and further his education. A high school diploma is basically meaningless these days. Learn something that places him in a high demand skill category and the job opportunities will be abundant. This is the world of three or four times normal salaries with fly in/out options, signing bonuses, relocation services, housing allowances, vehicles etc.

Best of luck and if all else fails keep his room ready and some money set aside for a one way flight back home. Some kids can only learn things the hard way.
MacDaddy
 
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Location: Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Re: Need advice... Lots of it please!

Unread postby Tropics » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:48 pm

dj4761 wrote:Hello! I have a son about six month fresh out of high school and just turned 18. He is bound and determined to go to Fort Mac or somewhere up north to get a job and is planning on leaving sometime in February to look for jobs. Here's the deal:

1 - He plans on getting a job as a labourer but has no construction skills nor has he worked in any trades.
2 - He hopes to get hired on in a camp of some sort and hopes to avoid having to find an apartment or suite.
3 - To my knowledge, he's only tentatively been looking for jobs online so far.

I've been scouring the internet and this forum trying to get a sense of what the situation is really like up there and I am asking for advice I can forward to my son. I appreciate any insights from the members here and I'm hoping MacDaddy will chime in.


Coming up here without work lined up is a huge mistake, jobs are not that plentiful atm that you just come to town and people line up to offer you work. In fact any job beyond retail (which puts you in poverty in FM) is competitive and many people will be trying to get the job.

"Getting hired on in a camp" is not that simple. I am not sure most people understand what "camp" is. "Camp" is basically a huge hotel that serves meals, has varying degrees of comfort, and which cost upwards of $200 per a night+ for a single person. Companies pay for people to stay in camp, as expensive as hotel rooms in Fort McMurray are most are cheaper then a stay at "Camp". Most people who stay at camp do not work in the camp, they work on site and commute to and from camp each day. A single month in "camp" costs about $5,000 give or take. People do not simply come up here and get put up in camp, it is expensive and people are there for a reason. Most camps are also 30 to 45 minutes from Fort McMurray at the minimum. As MacDaddy said, when he is not working in no way is a company going to pay for him to stay in camp and there is no way anyone up here would spend the money themselves to stay in one, even if it were possible, most camps require the room be booked by a company and individuals cannot even book a room.

Your son needs to have his thing in order and a job lined up before coming up here or he will be completely lost in a very cold city (cold in more ways then one).
Tropics
 
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Re: Need advice... Lots of it please!

Unread postby dj4761 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:55 pm

Thanks for your insights and no, my son didn't break up with a high school sweetheart. :D He knows a few people that found work at Fort Mac with no skills and he wants a piece of that pie.

I've explained as much as could plus informed him of what I've learnt but, as with pretty much any young adult, they seem to have all of the answers. It appears he's going to have to learn the hard way.

Is there a resource he can go to to find job listings and/or companies in Fort Mac to send resumes to?

Again, thanks for the insights so far.
dj4761
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:36 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Need advice... Lots of it please!

Unread postby MacDaddy » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:43 pm

Since he appears to know everything I would just let him do it his way. Like I mentioned, keep his room handy and money for the trip home. Be very careful about any requests to co sign on any credit applications as there are many slimy folk happy to let kids who know everything at 18 to run up a tab. Don't let yourself get dragged into anything that's going to cost you down the road.

While it is hard to fight the urge to swoop in and help, a dose of reality is probably the best thing for him now.
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Location: Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada


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