Wind energy offers new careers to the oil workers in Alberta

Photo: David Rossiter, The canadian Press
Colin Winder (center), a teacher in the program of the technician of wind turbines Lethbridge College, using his / her studies for a course.

The winds of change that blow on the Alberta growing the workers of the oil industry to new careers in the wind industry.


According to the Association canadian wind energy (CanWEA), if the Alberta devoted entirely to the wind its commitment to add 5000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2030, this would lead to investment of 8.3 billion dollars and the creation of many jobs.


Mark Kokas, an electrician for 42 years, has been swept away by these gusts that shake the world of work in the province. Two years after having been laid off in the sector of oil and gas, he is studying to retrain technician wind turbine.


“It is difficult to find a job in this time. It’s not like it was, ” Mr. Kokas, met in a class of the college of Lethbridge, one of the two institutions in Western canada to provide the training. It is also the only program to offer certification in one year.


According to Mr. Kokas, oil and gas have represented the bread and butter of Alberta for several years, but that time is over.

Photo: David Rossiter, The canadian Press
The instructor Chris DeLifle, left, works with student Mark Kokas on a simulator during a lesson.

“It’s going to be a very strong pressure to train workers where the industry needs them,” he said.


The forty-something woman admits to having lived a true awareness from one industry to another. “There is one other thing that the oil and gas. It is pretty “cool”, recognizes the new student.


The one-year training to become a technician in the wind turbine is accompanied by a serious warning : “Those who are afraid of heights are asked to refrain. “

Our students will be working in an office of 300 feet in the air, then obviously security is a major priority
Chris DeLisle, teacher

For Chris DeLisle, alternative energy sources such as wind represent obvious alternatives for the workers made unemployed by the decline of the fossil fuel sector.


Four of the 16 students in his group have worked in the oil industry before.


“As Alberta seeks to establish itself as a leader compared to the rest of the country in renewable energy, the wind ends up on the first line and should stay there for a good time,” says Mr. DeLisle.


Wind energy raises the optimism at a time when Canada is trying to reduce its carbon footprint.


The training of a technician in the wind turbine includes concepts of electricity, repair of the blades of glass fiber and the inner workings of the turbines. It also includes a large number of security measures.


“I would have hoped to have been set off earlier like that I would be already working,” says Mr. Kokas, who expects to quickly find a job at the end of his training.