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Going through a career change is like experiencing a breakup. You question where it went wrong, why things changed, and where you go from here. Luckily, the oil and gas industry is booming with job opportunities to ease your career change woes'no bad breakup required.

They offer a lot of on-the-job training. There's often rapid career advancement, especially noted in the case of anyone working in the drilling rigs, says Carla Campbell-Ott, executive director of the Petroleum HR Council, when speaking of the industry. These are generally long-term positions and long-term opportunities.

A broad number of occupations include those with existing skills and experience that could be transferred to a career in oil and gas'for instance, engineers, health and safety workers, and those in the medical field.

As an example, she uses the career as an equipment operator, which is used in many different industries. When we look at them, we know that those with industry-specialized occupations are harder to find and there are fewer of them, but those that are broad are highly sought after in the industry so there's more competition.

As an industry that is constantly changing, Campbell-Ott also explains that oil and gas is also experiencing a rise in environmental job opportunities that could be advantageous for individuals coming from that field. There are a lot of environmental advisors, technicians, inspectors, and a whole lot of new occupations in stakeholder relations and communications, she says. If people have experiences in other industries, that's a good opportunity for transferability because those are big growth occupations.

Campbell-Ott does caution, however, that many occupations are industry specific to oil and gas, thus requiring field training or certification.

Monika Bhandari, senior program coordinator for the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) Oil and Gas Training Programs, explains that with industry demands, CCIS took charge and developed training programs in a number of oil and gas specializations to help new immigrants find employment in Western Canada. These programs include training in drilling and service rigs, seismic work, and power engineering.

A lot of people are coming with varying backgrounds, she says. They're coming with engineering, teaching, accounting, as construction workers, business owners, and when they come here they're not working in the same level of expertise.

With programs ranging from 8 to 37 weeks in length, CCIS screens, shortlists, and interviews applicants, with the help of industry, to find the most suitable oil and gas candidates. And the success of the program is evident through their numbers. The ones who have ever taken our programs have completed it and we've always had 100 per cent training completion, says Bhandari, with 95 per cent of them successful in finding employment.

They have this ultimate drive and motivation in them that you wouldn't be able to tell off of any paper, explains Bhandari. You could see a resum├® but you don't see that motivational level and that level to want to succeed and be able to provide for their families.

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