Tag Archives: jobs

Pinnacle Co-Founder giving back.

Dale Driedger doing his part to give back to the community that gave him so much.

November 25th, 2001.  Even though it was just over 15 years ago, it’s still a date that’s fresh in many Winnipeggers minds. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the best team in the CFL that season, were in the Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders – a team who had just snuck into the post-season with a win in the final week of the regular season against , ironically, the Bombers. Surely we were going to win. It was our year. We were supposed to win. We didn’t. Continue reading Pinnacle Co-Founder giving back.

Jobs, jobs, jobs (and all at the bargain price of $5.5 billion)

Is all that spending really being put to its best use? And how much are we going to have to cut in order to pay for it?
Is all that spending really being put to its best use? And how much are we going to have to cut in order to pay for it?
Dorothy Dobbie  Bold Ideas
Dorothy Dobbie
Bold Ideas

There were 5,089 jobs available in Winnipeg the other day when I checked the Internet.
They ranged from hourly paid jobs to executive careers – all out there, waiting for the right person to make a match with.
There were 104 jobs at the University of Manitoba; 29 waiting at Nygard International; and at least a dozen waiting at Red River College.
There were calls for office assistants, including one by a local member of parliament; retail store clerks; project managers and granite counter top installers. The City of Winnipeg was even looking for someone to take tree inventory!
Management jobs abounded and there were lots of calls for health industry workers. The Winnipeg Football Club was looking for an events coordinator and a graphic designer. Even Canada Post was looking for someone. The list was endless and filled with exciting opportunity.
There are also lots of websites offering information about vacant jobs, many of them posted ages ago and many more of them viewed by hundreds of people. Certain websites will filter the search by salary if that’s your primary concern.
Not all of these jobs are highly skilled or technical. A “loss prevention lead” at Sears only requires a couple of years at community college; Boeing was looking for a human resources generalist with only three years’ experience and a bachelor’s degree; CIBC was looking for someone with experience in handling cash – no educational requirements listed; and Manitoba Public Insurance wanted a scheduling clerk, with only a high school diploma required.
Billions for more jobs?
So here we are with a government spending billions and promising jobs, jobs, jobs. The last time I checked the unemployment rate for Manitoba, it was 5.5 per cent, or virtually full employment in this province. And the industry crying out for the most employees was (you guessed it) the construction industry, the very industry that is supposed to fill 59,000 jobs to facilitate this massive infrastructure deficit over the next five years.
I’m all for fixing the infrastructure – that’s what government is supposed to do: make sure our roads and sewers and water mains are working. But this past year, the government was squeezing pennies so tightly that you could hear them squeak, so it stretches the credulity to hear that suddenly spending $5.5 billion over five years will allow them to present a balanced budget a year-and-a-half from now.
There are other clues that trigger doubt. The much-touted “relief” for seniors from education tax burden has been put back a year because there isn’t enough money to pay for that.
You either have the money or you don’t.
Secondly, who will fill all these construction jobs? If we don’t have enough workers to fill the ranks now, they can only come from somewhere else – some other province, some other country – and so where does the benefit go? Not to Manitoba, but to back home where the wife and kids live (these are temporary jobs, remember), be it somewhere else in Canada or somewhere else in the world.
Running with scissors
This budget reminds me of a story told to me by a former NDP minister from back in the Howard Pawley days in the ‘80s. The pantry was bare, the government was in debt, and Pawley came out with a magnificently generous budget promising all kinds of spending right where the voters’ hearts lived.
Allan Blakeney, the newly minted NDP premier of Saskatchewan at the time, came for a visit and he asked Pawley, “How can you bring down a budget like this with the terrific deficit you have? How will you ever pay down your debt?”
“Ah, don’t worry,” Pawley apparently said. “We’re on shaky ground and the Tories will be in soon. They can fix it then.”
That’s exactly what happened.
It was a bit before Brian Pallister’s time – the cutting had to start immediately (remember Filmon Fridays?). And it is exactly what will have to happen this time. Brian Pallister will have to have scissors. The only issue on the table is where the cuts will have to be made.
La même chose. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The Manitoba construction industry has a job for you!

craneHomebuilding trades offer employment opportunities for both men and women.

By Cindy McKay

The outlook is bright when it comes to Manitoba’s construction industry according to executive director, Mike Moore, of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association. Forecasts from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Statistics Canada estimate the population of Manitoba will increase by 180,000 people by the year 2025. In order to accommodate this growth, an estimated 80,000 new residences need to be built.

Currently, there are more than 24,000 workers in the construction industry. As 6,700 of the current workforce is entering retirement age, Moore estimates that there will be about 6,000 vacancies in the next few years and that 9,100 additional workers will be needed to meet the future employment demand. This could leave the industry with a shortfall of 10,000 workers across the construction industry. Carpenters, electricians, gas fitters, managers and supervisors, floor coverers, painters, plumbers, installers, renovators and roofers are all critical to the residential housing industry. If the labour shortages are not addressed, projects will be delayed and consumers will have to wait longer for new homes and renovations.

Overseas recruitment is already underway in Ireland and Spain where unemployment rates are high. The industry has attracted a strong contingent of workers from the Philippines, Italy, Ukraine and Portugal.

“It’s a great job with solid wages, steady work and you can take vacation time according to your schedule rather than, say, that of a teacher,” says Moore. “Every builder has crews to do the job and there is a lot of opportunity for young people to have freedom and stability of work. There is lots of opportunity to form a crew of your own or be a boss.”

Moore says that traditionally employers look to young people to fill these positions, they can make a good living in nearly every sector of the construction industry. Women also work in nearly every trade sector from heavy equipment operators to electricians.

“Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor or a lawyer. We need to educate the public to realize that the trades provide a good life and a lucrative living can be made. We need to do a better job within the schools to tell kids how exciting the construction industry is,” Moore says. “There are technical vocational schools that implement trade programs. Post-secondary options are found at Red River Community College and Winnipeg Tech College, but part of the problem is that we don’t have enough training spots and we need to provide more opportunities. Some trades have two and three year waiting lists.”

Moore says that the demand for skilled tradesmen lies not only in new construction but also in the renovation field where there is a wide range of work.

“Winnipeg has the third oldest housing stock in Canada, next to Montreal and Halifax,” he points out. “Winnipeggers who move away often want to move back to the same community they lived in so their kids can go to the same school and experience the same neighbourhood. They can’t always build a new house in that area, so renovations are the answer.”

The Manitoba government has launched a marketing campaign promoting apprenticeship programs in the trades. Moore hopes this will raise the profile of the occupations and entice people to look into the opportunities.

“The best way to know if you will like the work is to come in as a helper and see what interests you. You will gain a sense of the many opportunities available. There are many sectors of the industry to choose from,” says Moore.

“Unlike university, where you pay to discover this information, you will get paid during this learning opportunity.”

Tricks of the trades

winnipegHome builder/renovations construction

Painter/Decorator – $13.89* per hour beginning wage up to $25.25* for journeyman

If you you like making a space beautiful, have a good colour sense, are able to work in high places and are detail oriented, there is a good chance you would enjoy being a painter or decorator. With the continued demand from renovation projects and new housing, the job prospects are good. Artistic ability is useful, as sometimes this trade requires sketching and design work.

Duties include painting, staining or varnishing the inside and outside surfaces of buildings and other structures, and applying wallpaper and decorative wall coverings. Training can be carried out on the job or as a full apprenticeship program with classroom as well as job site training. You can also apply for a Red Seal endorsed Certificate of Qualification once you complete your apprenticeship.

Employers include construction contractors, building maintenance crews, larger firms, painting contractors and government organizations. There are also lots of opportunities for self-employment in the private sector. Hours can be full time, part time or shift work.

Grade 12 is required for acceptance in an apprenticeship program or, in the case of mature students, a high-school-equivalent academic standing. Good communication skills and the ability to read blueprints and other technical data are necessary.

Carpenters – $18.45* to $27.80* per hour for journeyman

If you enjoy wood working , building and design, a career as a carpenter may be the perfect fit for you. Carpenters are vital to any construction project. They build and renovate residences, businesses and other industrial projects.

Requirements are reading and interpreting blueprints and drawings to determine building specifications. You also need to know how to prepare layouts that conform to building codes. Job duties require assembling frameworks and forms, such as walls, floors and roofs; constructing interior and exterior finishes; and installing doors, windows, flooring, cabinets, stairs, handrails, paneling, molding and ceiling tiles. Other structures include scaffolding, bridges, trestles, tunnels, shelters and towers. Teamwork is a must as a carpenter. Often times, they work together on projects with concrete workers, electricians plumbers and other tradespeople.

The outlook is very good for this trade. Carpenters are employed by construction companies, contractors, maintenance departments, schools and businesses or are self-employed.

Apprenticeship is available to those with Grade 12 or to mature students with academic equivalence involving a combination of in-school and on-the-job training. Apprenticeship training and certification in the trade is voluntary, with the interprovincial Red Seal endorsed Certificate of Qualification issued upon completion.

Tilesetters – $22.25* per hour

If you enjoy working with your hands, have a good eye for detail with an artistic flair and high work standards, the job of tilesetter might be the right career for you. With the popularity of ceramic, terrazzo and marble tile to create unique mosaic designs that cover walls, ceilings and floors, the outlook for this career is good.

Employers provide on-the-job training. While Manitoba does not offer a complete tilesetter apprenticeship program, you can become certified. Tilesetting is recognized as an interprovincial trade.

Workers are employed by contractors and renovators and are frequently self-employed. Generally, this trade works a five-day, 40-hour week. Overtime is sometimes required to meet deadlines.

Building construction managers/technicians – $46,300 to $61,400 *per year

Supervisors and construction managers are in demand. These people must have experience in the construction industry, demonstrate leadership qualities and the skills to plan and supervise the construction of roads and bridges, hydroelectric dams and buildings. They also must be able to prepare cost estimates and timetables, as well as arrange financing and co-ordinate construction work.

On-the-job training is provided but courses are available at colleges and universities. Candidates must have a good understanding of construction techniques in order to become a supervisor. Studies include construction law, project management, drafting fundamentals and a variety of other topics. Non-construction based courses on management and human resources are also required. Gold Seal Certification comes with course completion.

Heavy construction 

Concrete finishers $14.35* to $18.45* per hour

If you enjoy a good physical workout that requires working with your hands and an artistic eye, concrete work is right up your alley. The demand for concrete workers in both the residential and non-residential construction sectors is strong.

Concrete finishers place and finish concrete on many different types of surfaces that may include floors, walls, driveways, sidewalks, streets, highways and airport runways. Restoration and repair projects can include anything from bridge span decks and hydro-electric generating stations to industrial floors.

A variety of skills and knowledge is required to meet consumer demands. Because of its versatility, concrete can be troweled for a smooth finish, brushed to create a coarse, non-skid finish, embedded with gravel chips for an exposed aggregate finish, patterned or stamped for a decorative surface, or floated with a special dry shake to create a coloured surface.

For large structures, such as warehouses, much of the finishing work is now mechanized with laser-guided or power screeds, power floats and trowels and mechanical vibrators and pumps, which minimize the demand for manual labour.

Heavy equipment operator – $15.38* to $20.50* per hour

If you are excited by the idea of driving big equipment that moves yards of dirt to construct roads, ditches or change the shape of the landscape, become a heavy equipment operator. The job outlook is very good for the next several years, as Manitoba continues to schedule major road construction projects at both the provincial and municipal levels.

Workers are required to operate heavy equipment such as bulldozers and graders to excavate and move rock, earth and gravel during construction. Scraping old surfaces or preparing roads for resurfacing requires laying, spreading or compacting concrete and asphalt.

Requirements include Grade 12, mature students, and possession of a valid driver’s license. A certified training course is provided by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association and contractors will train you on the job.

The main employers are construction companies, heavy equipment contractors and public works departments. Employment is seasonal and often requires shift work.

Heavy duty equipment technician/mechanic – $15.30* to $20.50* per hour

If you like mechanics and are interested in all types of machinery, engines, electronics and precision testing equipment, you will enjoy a career in this field. The main duties are to service and repair heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, such as cranes, diesel trucks, power shovels, scrapers, graders, powered conveyors, bulldozers, farm equipment and transport trailers.

Apprenticeship programs are available and the interprovincial Red Seal endorsed certification is optional.
The employment outlook is very good. Many companies employ technicians to keep their fleet of equipment maintained according to regular maintenance and repair checklists. Large machine shops may specialize in engine overhaul, power shift transmissions, fuel pumps and injections, hydraulic controls, electrical and air conditioning or track equipment.

The working environment may vary from an indoor shop to being out in the field at a job site.

Truck Driver – $18.00*

If you have a passion for driving and love breaking out on the open highway, heading to ever-changing destinations, a professional driving career could be for you. Professional drivers also oversee the loading and unloading of cargo, keeping records of arrival and departure times and maintaining log books of fuel consumption and mileage. They may also assist in the overall maintenance of the vehicles.

Positions vary from local delivery drivers to long distance hauls across Canada or into the United States.
The outlook for this career is very bright as manufacturing, transportation, moving and distribution companies need drivers to transport their goods from one destination to another. Driver requirements are Class 1 and 2 driver’s licenses with air brake endorsement required.

On-the-job training may be provided or you can register with an approved truck-driving training school.

*Wages are determined by individual businesses and contractors based on skill criteria and their employment policies.

Career training in aerospace industry

Above: founded in 1926, Tec Voc currently offers 19 technical vocational programs. Inset: instructor Terry Holowaty shows Grade 11 students Carl Fabros and Paige Croucher the basics of welding.
Above: founded in 1926, Tec Voc currently offers 19 technical vocational programs.
Inset: instructor Terry Holowaty shows Grade 11 students Carl Fabros and Paige Croucher the basics of welding.

By Cindy McKay

Would you be interested in a program where you can explore various aspects of high-tech jobs available within Manitoba’s aerospace industry? A program designed so you can keep working evenings or part time and train for a high paying career in this hot market? A program where they are open to training new Canadians and hope to attract more women into the industry? The Aerospace Manufacturing and Maintenance Orientation Program (AMMOP) at Tec Voc school may be just the program you are looking for.

Designed for mature students from 18 to 30 years old who are looking for a different career direction, the free 10-month program is ideal for students who are curious about the industry but don’t have the resources to invest in an education.

“The program continues to flourish and it just keeps getting better and better,” says Tec Voc High School Aerospace Coordinator, Greg Link. “We also have developed a cool partnership with Workplace Education Manitoba (WEM), when it comes to new Canadians who may have been involved in similar trades back in their previous country. The partnership is to upgrade their essential skills to meet the course requirements and it is a nice way for WEM to identify potential clients.”

Instead of investing tens of thousands of dollars to learn the skills, successful candidates can attend the 10-month training for free. Should they be hired, the rest of their training and educational needs are provided via the employer.
“Students who have attended this program and have gone on to other institutions for training are often the leaders in the group,” says Link.

In April, the enthusiastic Link took to the road to the surrounding schools within one hour of Winnipeg. He was recruiting Grade 12 graduates to consider enrolling in the adult program as it is a great transition for rural students who may not know which career path to follow.

“The program is a great transition for anyone who may be unsure about what they should take for schooling or considering a career change. The program does not cost them anything but builds up their skill set and fosters an understanding about the trades involved in the aerospace industry,” says Link. “If they are interested in engineering, the skills they will learn here will give them an advantage should they decide to pursue their studies elsewhere.”

The adult program can accommodate 50 part-time students per year. The early week classes run Monday, Tuesday and the occasional Wednesday and late week classes run on the occasional Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Entrance testing occurs in May for the 10-month course that begins mid-August.
“It’s exciting as the 500th graduate of the program will be celebrated this year,” says Link. “Of them, 400 are still employed in the industry. StandardAero has employed the majority of our graduates while recently it seems that Boeing can’t seem to get our grads fast enough. The industry is booming faster than anyone expected.”