Exploring Red Seal Pathways: Operating Trades (Part 3 of 4)
Have you ever considered being the operator behind the machine?
Visualize a construction site. The first thing many people think of is the big machines—bulldozers, excavators, and massive cranes. Have you ever considered being the operator behind the machine?
Whether you’re a high school student planning your career path or already in the workforce and looking for a change, you should be considering a career in the skilled trades. In addition to the high demand for skilled workers, apprentices get paid to learn, opening themselves up to unlimited career pathways.
But where to start? There many more Red Seal trades and career pathways than most people realize, so please join us for part three in this four-part series where we explore the Red Seal trades and the opportunities found within each. You can also check out part one of this series, Metal Trades, and part two, Technician & Machining Trades!
Heavy Equipment Operator
Dozer Operator Job Description: Operate dozers to move, spread, and strip earth, rock, gravel, or other materials during construction and related activities. Dozer operators work in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, and utilities, and the construction of gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings, and other structures. Dozers are also used to clear brush and stumps prior to logging activities and to build roads at logging and surface mining sites.
Excavator Operator Job Description: Operate excavators to excavate, move, lift, strip, stockpile, and place earth, rock, gravel, or other materials. Excavator Operators work in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, and utilities, and the construction of gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings, and other structures. They also operate equipment in surface mining, quarrying, and land clearing activities. Excavators are also used to create slopes, to clear land at logging and surface mining sites, and to perform demolitions.
Tractor-Loader-Backhoe Job Description: Operate tractor-loader-backhoes to move and load earth, rock, gravel, or other materials during construction and related activities. They work in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, and utilities, and of gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings, and other structures. They also operate equipment in surface mining, quarrying, and land clearing activities.
Apprenticeship: 1- to 2-year apprenticeship, depending on the province of work
Average Salary: $75,380*
Working Conditions: Heavy equipment operators work outdoors in almost any kind of weather. Work may be seasonal, resulting in overtime during peak seasons and lay-offs during the slower months.
Required Traits & Skills: Enjoys operating machinery, taking a step-by- approach to their work, mechanical ability, excellent hand-eye-coordination, good vision and spatial awareness and fast reflexes.
Career Pathways: Highway building, residential and commercial infrastructure, bridge projects, pipeline, logging, oil and gas, landscaping, demolition projects, safety officer, trainer/instructor, and supervisory positions.
Tower Crane Operator
Description: Tower crane operators use tower cranes to lift, move, position, and place materials and equipment. They calculate the crane’s lifting capacities and determine load weight, participate in setting up and dismantling the crane, and position and stabilize the crane before the lift. They also perform regular inspections and do minor repairs and maintenance on the equipment.
Apprenticeship: 2-year apprenticeship
Average Salary: $66,772*
Working Conditions: Crane and hoisting equipment operators work outdoors, and in all types of weather. A 40-hour, 5-day work week is normal and overtime is not uncommon to meet construction deadlines.
Required Traits & Skills: Comfortable working from heights, with excellent coordination and manual dexterity, good vision, and the ability to communicate well with ground crews with hand signals and voice commands.
Career Pathways: Construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas extraction, forestry, safety officer, trainer/instructor, and supervisory positions.
No matter your trade of choice, CLAC supports apprentices on their apprenticeship journey! Services include training, resume building, employment search and apprenticeship pathway support. Learn more at clac.ca/apprenticeship.
*All salaries are as reported on Glassdoor for the Canadian Average. Pay rates will vary between provinces, sector of work and type of work.
Sources: Red-seal.ca, Glassdoor.com, alis.alberta.ca