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Canadian working holiday

Canadian working holiday

Canadian working holiday

Hello world o' engineering

I'm a mechanical design drafter looking at going to Canada for a working holiday, late 2010 and I was hoping for advice.

I was going to start off in Vancouver, but what city would be a good home base to aim for? (apologies, I know this was touched on in a previous thread, but I was hoping for Canada specific suggestions).

Are there any specific training courses that would be advantageous for the Canadian market?
I have my technical diploma in CAD, and a few CAD software training courses and 4 years worth of experience in Oli&Gas, mining and subsea industries.

Any and all advice appreciated!

RE: Canadian working holiday

if you've got experience in oil&gas head for Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, big money in that area, altho not a whole lot in the way of vacation material, and the winters are generally harsh. Newfoundland also has a fairly large oil/subsea industry and is probably better for a vacation spot if you enjoy the rural lifestyle. The money isn't usually that good in Newfoundland.

I guess it depends on what you're after, Vancouver is veeery west coast, lots of gangs, lots of drugs, laid back but huge crime rate, very strange in that regard.

RE: Canadian working holiday

Ya Fort Mac was hit hard, my understanding is that it's starting to pick up again with the price of crude back in the $80 range, it really needs to be over $100 for the Athabascan sands to be in high gear, but there's plenty of build projects underway.

That said, I wouldn't recommend Fort Mac as a vacation zone, it's hard enough on people that grew up in rural areas and -40 temperatures.

RE: Canadian working holiday

Whatever you do, don't come to toronto.


RE: Canadian working holiday

Thanks for the info guys,
FeX32 - why not Totonto? Not much work to be had?

I'm coming from Australia, so I won't be hunting warm temperatures.
-40 will be a wonderful change from 40+
(Yes, I'm an Aussie that doesn't like the sun, we do exist)

And when I say working holiday, I don't mean a vacation with a bit of work thrown in.
I do intend to do be working most of the time, the holiday bit is experiencing a different country, culture and climate. Change is good.

Is accommodation overpriced and somewhat hard to come by in Fort McMurray?

And does anyone have any course or qualification recommendations?

RE: Canadian working holiday

Well in your line of work I believe there is not much money to be made in Toronto. Maybe the GTA (greater toronto area) has some work.
I have a friend that does CAD, he moved to Alberta because of loss of job.
But, my advice is to apply. Southern Ontario is a much different place than Alberta.

I take my first post back, definitely apply.  


RE: Canadian working holiday

Depends on what kind of mechanical design work you are looking for.  -40.....Australian......BHP has diamond mines in the NWT, as does Rio Tinto and DeBeers, all looking for people, employee turnover is pretty high, 'cause it's so cold up here.  Maybe not the best place for a working holiday.

Canada's industries are pretty localized, so the kind of field you want to work in may dictate where you should go.  Unless you are in a field like construction, and there are lots of places you could go.

RE: Canadian working holiday

Don't come unless and until you have a job offer in hand, unless this is a holiday for which a job is optional for a protracted period.  We still get 5,000+ engineers immigrating here per year compared with the 10,000 we graduate from our universities yearly.  That's unfortunately still far too many engineers for our economy to accomodate working as engineers.  It was so before the recession, and it certainly continues to be so.

What do many of the foreign-trained engineers do when they can't find work as engineers?  Why CAD drafting and design, of course!  That doesn't bode well for your hope to find a position here.

Ft. McMurray is a boom town in a bust period.  They may still have trouble finding people willing to work in Tim Hortons doughnut shops but the decent-paying jobs are down a long long way from the peak of a couple years ago.  Calgary has seen hundreds of layoffs in the consulting engineering offices.  Toronto still gets 55% of the immigrants to Canada and hence has a huge over-supply of people wishing entry to the engineering job market- and one which has existed for over ten years, compounding the present problem.  The surrounding GTA and Southern Ontario environs have seen huge lay-offs in the manufacturing sector.  Vancouver?  The winter Olympics have generated a boom but that won't last either- and there are always plenty of easterners wanting to move to Vancouver to escape the harsher winters in the rest of the country.

Yeah, those are all realities, but it's a big and beautiful country and who knows what you'll find.  With Australian experience and good English communication skills, you might be lucky.  But there's still a recession on here, so be realistic.

RE: Canadian working holiday

The bulk of the "technical" jobs related the the oilsands in Ft. Mac are actually located out of Calgary.  I don't live there but I don't really have much bad to say about it.  I live outside of Edmonton so there is a long standing rivalry.  Calgary is closer to the Rocky Mountains and a bit more costly than Edmonton but still not at expensive as Ft. Mac.

If you havn't experienced the cold you may want to go sit in a freezer for a while.  The cold in Alberta is a dry cold but, in my opinion, much better than the himidity in the maritimes.  I will take the cold over poisonous things, creepy crawlies, volcanoes, and typhoons.

You probably want to consider making sure a job is lined up before moving.  The design work is being shifted to other less costly locations because of the economy and cost of oil.

My 2 cents.


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