"It’s hard to find anyone that’s good and reliable"
Lawrence Carr, construction manager, Diamond Park Builders
There are many jobs available in the residential construction industry. Many companies offer apprenticeship positions, which is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning a new job.
With the increasing number of people moving to Fort McMurray, there is a greater demand for more housing. This is a problem for people looking for housing, but it makes residential construction a good career choice.
Not only does the residential construction industry experience difficulty finding skilled tradespeople, it is also a challenge to find people who are willing to learn and work hard. Many of the companies that hire for positions involved in residential construction welcome inexperienced workers in entry-level positions, but they need to be reliable and conscientious.
“It’s hard to find anyone that’s good and reliable,” says Lawrence Carr, construction manager with Diamond Park Builders. “Nobody has a driver’s licence anymore, nobody has a vehicle—that’s how bad it is in a lot of cases. Positions are hard to fill across the board.”
According to Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry, the Wood Buffalo/Cold Lake region will generate over 24,000 new jobs between 2006 to 2011, accounting for about 12 per cent of all new jobs in Alberta. The construction industry in the Wood Buffalo/Cold Lake region (including residential, business and commercial, industrial, engineering works, and subdivision and development of land) is expected to create over 3,668 new jobs, averaging 10.8 per cent growth between 2006 and 2011. Across the province, residential construction will slow down slightly, but will still remain at relatively high levels. There will continue to be a shortage of construction workers during peak periods of activity, especially in trades and sub-trades such as masonry, drywall and stucco.
Shawn Chaulk, president and owner of Stratford Contracting, says that Fort McMurray has a shortage of companies that deal with heating and ventilation.
“There are shortages across the board, I think. Within home building itself, I think mechanical is one of the toughest trades to keep up with and get—heating and ventilating,” says Chaulk. “There’s no blanket answer why. There are only a couple of companies in town and those companies have been here for years and no new ones have started up or moved in. I don’t know why. The money is certainly here."
If you are interested in working in the residential construction industry, there are a few personal and professional characteristics you should have:
- the ability to work independently and as a member of a team,
- the ability to work with other trades,
- physical strength, plus some trades require agility and/or ability to work in high places,
- have a safety-conscious attitude.
Specific jobs have different requirements and characteristics. Be sure to find out what they are. Don’t apply for a job as a labourer for a roofing company if you’re afraid of heights. Visit OCCinfo for more information on individual occupations at www.alis.gov.ab.ca.
There are many places to look for jobs in residential construction. A good place to start is the local newspaper, Fort McMurray Today (www.fortmcmurraytoday.com). Also, your local Labour Market Information Centre, and the Fort McMurray employment service providers are excellent places to find out who’s hiring, where you can get safety certification, and what companies require of job seekers in order to be hired. Some service providers even have job boards you can browse.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has a document on their website called Career Paths in the Residential Construction Industry (www.chba.ca). The Alberta Construction Industry’s Trade Up! website is also a valuable resource for people looking to get into the trades (www.careersconstruction.com). Also, visit the websites related to construction listed on page 4.
The information in this issue of Labour Market News was current as of the date shown. Employment outlook, salaries and educational programs may change. Please verify the information with additional sources before making career or business investment decisions. Contact us for more information.