370 laid off people in Calgary attend employment workshop

More than 350 Calgarians who have lost their jobs recently - many of of them in oil and gas - were told in a workshop that there may be better opportunities outside the energy industry.

Participants hear there may be better opportunities outside energy sector

Hugo Penagos lost his oil patch job last June and says he may have to leave the province to find work. (CBC)

More than 350 Calgarians who have lost their jobs recently — many of of them in oil and gas — were told in a workshop that they may have better luck applying their skills outside the energy industry. 

This is the first in a series of workshops hosted by Calgary Economic Development. Starting in March, there will be one held every few weeks. The topics will include: how to manage your finances, mental health resiliency and networking for introverts.

Hugo Penagos was laid off from his job as a project manager last June. He is taking a course at SAIT and hopes to find a job before his employment insurance benefits run out.

"I used to work in the oil patch, but now I'm trying to adjust my expectation about the job market here in Calgary, or probably in another province," said Penagos.

One way to stay in the city is to look for work in related industries, according to Michael Neumann. He works at Standen's, a steel manufacturing company, and as a presenter at the workshop he told the job-seekers that companies like his may be a good fit for their skills.

"There's so many support jobs out there, whether it's engineering, finance, logistics, management, human resources. Manufacturing industry has all those types of roles and we're looking for some people all the time," he said.

Carol Howes of Enform says there may be jobs for laid-off oil and gas workers on northern B.C.'s gas projects. (CBC)

And one of the presenters said there may be work in the energy industry, though not necessarily in traditional areas.

Carol Howes works for Enform, which trains workers for the upstream oil and gas industry. She says there are still opportunities for laid-off oil patch workers in northern British Columbia.

"There's still, hopefully, some opportunity in the LNG sector in northeast BC and what that means, if those projects go ahead, there will be a great demand for a lot of jobs within that sector as well," she said.

Howes also said oil sands production is set to grow in the coming years and that will increase employment.

According to Calgary Economic Development, Calgary had a net loss of 9,200 jobs last year. In comparison, more than 20,000 jobs were lost during the recession of 2009-2010.


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