Many of the skills integral to the fossil fuel industry are directly transferable to the renewables sector. Installing solar panels requires electricians, building wind turbines relies on welders and locating and maintaining geothermal wells depends on drilling engineers. Recent surveys find that many workers see and want the transition to sustainable jobs, even if it means a pay cut to get started. Governments and business have important roles to play in aiding the industry transition needed, and workers want the opportunity. Canada has everything to gain in evolving our economy for a sustainable future.
Iron & Earth is an initiative led by oilsands workers committed to building Canada’s energy future. Through our efforts, we will help catalyze growth in the renewable energy industry, and incorporate these projects into the work scope of our variety of trades. Here is a direct video link.
Workers report motivation to retrain in three main categories: family, health and financial stability and feeling positive about our work. See Fossil fuel workers want retraining in renewables:
First, the grind is grueling. The typical rotation is three weeks on, followed by one week off. During that week off, workers often spend up to two days traveling to and from home. They’re left with a few days to unwind and spend time with their families.
Second, the boom/bust approach to life can be unhealthy. During good times, workers may let off steam by leveraging an inflated salary to borrow money for expensive stress-relievers such as trucks, quad bikes and property.
Without adequate financial planning, households can find themselves facing liabilities that stretch them past the breaking point. It is a brutal reality that 2016 saw domestic violence in Calgary running at 36 per cent above the average and a 30 per cent spike in suicides.
Third, people are beginning to question their purpose. Few consciously sought out work in the oilsands, and many are now reflecting on whether the high salaries are worth the costs of uncertain employment and the time spent away from family.”