If you want to know where most of the jobs are right now, you have to run your finger up the map to B.C.’s northeast, where an estimated 14,000 people are directly employed in the shale gas fields outside of Fort Nelson and Fort St. John.
Pipefitters, power engineers, machinists, welders, truck drivers, mechanics, electricians and millwrights are among the dozens of trades in hot demand across the region, with employers facing stiff competition from not just each other, but also neighbouring mining, industrial construction and hydroelectric operations to secure the trained workforce they need to support the work that is happening.
Over the next five years, another 1,000 to 2,000 openings are anticipated in connection with expanded natural gas exploration and products required to supply new LNG projects, with thousands more jobs created by the construction and operation of clean energy projects that will power them, the Ministry of Energy of Mines reported in its natural gas strategy paper.
Meanwhile, construction on BC Hydro’s Site C dam on the Peace River, east of Fort St. John, is due to break ground in 2014 and open up an estimated 35,000 direct and indirect jobs.
In B.C.’s northwest region, an unprecedented boom fuelled by up to $25 billion of resources investments over the next decade is also expected to intensify the skills shortage.
More than 32,500 person-years of jobs are anticipated through the development and construction stages, leaving anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 operational jobs in their wake, according to a report commissioned by BC Hydro in 2011.