BY PAMELA IRVING, EDMONTON JOURNAL NOVEMBER 12, 2012
EDMONTON – Canada faces a severe shortage of construction workers over the next decade and companies like Syncrude are taking a proactive approach to resolving the issue in-house.Syncrude does more than simply wait for people to apply for the jobs posted on its corporate website. The oilsands giant sponsors a host of educational programs, many of them targeting aboriginal communities. According to spokesperson Cheryl Robb, when Syncrude first started developing the oilsands in the 1970s, the company went into local communities in search of employees.
“This was the genesis of our aboriginal relations program that includes key training and employment. Aboriginal communities are a great source for labour that has not been fully tapped,” said Robb.
Syncrude has a policy of hiring locally in the municipality of Wood Buffalo first if possible, then broadening the net for potential employees. As part of their long-term strategy for employee recruitment, the company reaches out to communities in the north, most of which have a high aboriginal population. Employees at Syncrude self-declare their aboriginal heritage, with the current employee rate at nine per cent and growing.