The energy downturn in Alberta changed the nature of employment for much of the province's work force
Like many young people who initially go up to work the rigs, Jessa sought to make some money for her post secondary schooling, which she later attended.
“They called me petal. The guys in the camps, they wouldn’t say my name. They called me petal, like a flower petal.”
Jessa experienced sexism and harassment by her fellow workers and superiors that led her to leave the camp she was working in.
Queen's University Engineer - Pit Wall Designer
David, a Queen's University Engineer, seized the opportunity presented by his university to work at the rigs in a field of his interest. The money was definitely a factor, he says, and credits his superiors at the rigs as one of the reasons he decided to pursue a Master’s degree.
“They’re definitely part of the reason I got pushed into doing a masters. They really were encouraging that.”
It's common perception that people go up North to the oil patch to avoid getting an education, but that was not always the case.
President at Denarii Well Services
Mike is a respected figure in the local industry. “He’s a good guy”, a colleague reflected. The downturn affected him significantly as he was forced to lay off many of his workers who's families he knew personally.
“We’re looking for more professionals. We’re tying to make a better industry. [...] Now I look to see if they’re competent. If they’re trained.”
Mike is in the process of moving his business to another facility. There is only one machine left in the shop and his work clothes lay in a folded pile on the steps of the rig.
CEO Drever Agencies
Cliff Drever has worked in the industry all his life after inheriting his business from his father.
“The oil industry is famous for getting ahead of itself and I think our regulatory bodies need to do a better job.”
Drever hopes the downturn will serve as a wake-up call to better manage the industry.
Role: Rig Worker
Lowell is one individual who wasn't enticed by the money he was making in oil and gas. Having already earned a degree, Lowell worked hard to save money and then left the industry to further pursue his coaching career. He recently coached the Canadian biathlon cohort ath the World University Games.
“There was a lot of guys I’d work with that would barely make paying their bills but they’d have every toy there is to have. We live in a world where the oil industry can provide that.”