Oil Sands Contractor Recruiting Workers Canada-Wide

CALGARY, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - When work at the ship yard is tough to find, Anthony Mitchell looks west to Alberta.  His current position as an iron worker with Flint Infrastructure Services in northern Alberta marks the third time Mitchell has left home to put his skills to use in the oil and gas industry.  Mitchell worked in the oil sands in 2005 and again in 2007, but this time he has his son with him.

Mitchell and his son Brian are part of the same crew putting in shifts over fourteen days, then they fly home together for a week break. Travel expenses to their hometown Burin, Newfoundland are covered by URS Flint.

"My son Brian was looking online for work and found that Flint was recruiting.  He said, Dad, you're coming with me," says Mitchell.

Employees are assigned their own room which Mitchell, 59 describes as spacious, with a 30 inch cable TV and a phone.  Bathrooms are shared between two people. "It's like living in a five-star hotel and the food is perfect," says Mitchell. "They don't have cooks here, these guys are chefs."

Every night the main dishes such as prime rib or roast chicken change, but the pasta bar and fast food options are available consistently. There are plenty of recreation activities, says Mitchell, including a weight room, ping pong and pool tables, and even a golf simulator.  Every night after work the large gatherings space is set up for a variety of activities.  "One night they may show a movie, the next night it'll be set up for a yoga class or a poker game," says Mitchell.

There are more than 600 people working at the camp where the Mitchells stay, but URS Flint employs nearly 7,000 throughout the province.  The company is recruiting 2000 in the next 90 days, a challenge that a series of career fairs planned across Alberta this fall will help overcome according to Heather McKeown, Director, Recruitment and Workforce Planning at URS Flint.

"We need to spread the word that there is lots of work for people with skills in construction including those without experience in oil and gas."

McKeown says URS Flint recruiters are taking this message to provinces with work shortages so that the company can deliver on its goal to identify domestic talent thereby maintaining a Canadian employee base.

Statistics Canada reported in April that Alberta and more specifically the natural resources industries are leading the way in job creation. While the national unemployment rate sits at 7.3 percent, centres in Ontario such as Windsor and Barrie recorded rates nearly double that of the 5.1 percent in Alberta.

URS Flint is hiring positions including Crane Operator, Welder, Electrician, Mechanic, Estimator, Labourer, Pipefitter, Scaffolder, Dispatcher, Quality Inspector, and Project Manager.

Tradesmen will be interviewed in person at the career fairs and applicants for staff positions will be interviewed via video conferencing. Hourly employees receive the same standard benefits as salaried employees.

"We are on-boarding as we find people to staff projects that are currently underway," says McKeown. "Offer letters are specific to a project but we hire with the intention of transferring talented people between projects. We have a sizeable backlog of projects and we continue to secure new work."

Shawn Jubinville, Director, Oilsands Operations with URS Flint encourages construction workers with all levels of experience to apply. "Any type of construction experience including industrial and commercial is transferrable to our industry."

Shaun Welch is a (civil) superintendent with URS Flint but he started as a journeyman carpenter seven years ago. Previously Welch worked as a commercial and residential carpenter. "If you understand the work, it's not that big of a change."

He agrees with Mitchell that the camps are comfortable and jokes about gaining weight suggesting the food might be "a little too good".

Welch works twelve-hour shifts for nine days then drives himself home to Rosetown, Saskatchewan for a five day break, a five-hour drive for which he is compensated.

Welch says there are carpentry job opportunities closer to home, albeit on a smaller scale, but he was attracted by the higher wages in Alberta.

"If you want to work, there's lots here," he says, "Those that give it their best, succeed."

Both Welch and Mitchell agree that URS Flint offers great career opportunities. Mitchell maintains that good people make a good company. "Our co-workers and supervisors really go out of their way to accommodate us. If something comes up with your family they'll fly you home."

URS Flint has operated in Canada under several legacy company names since 1949 and in May of this year joined URS Corporation, an international provider of engineering and technical services. URS Flint is a fully integrated upstream and midstream construction and production service provider to the energy and resource industries throughout North America.

For more information about careers at URS Flint, see the website www.flintenergy.com or call toll free 1-866-GO-FLINT (1-866-463-5468) 8 am to 5 pm MT weekdays.

Image with caption: "URS Flint Workers at Oil Sands Construction Site (CNW Group/URS Flint)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120906_C4482_PHOTO_EN_17557.jpg

Image with caption: "Heather Mckeown, Director Recruitment Workforce Planning, Resources & Reliability (CNW Group/URS Flint)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120906_C4482_PHOTO_EN_17552.jpg

SOURCE: URS Flint

For further information:

For more information about careers at URS Flint, see the website www.flintenergy.com or call toll free 1-866-GO-FLINT (1-866-463-5468) 8 am to 5 pm MT weekdays.

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