Worker-led organization highlights job opportunities for oil and gas workers in green energy sector

Iron & Earth is an organization led by oil and gas workers. This week, it launched a website to encourage and inspire people working in the fossil fuel sector to consider taking the skills they already have and use them for jobs in the green energy industry.

The organization has created a climate career portal. People can enter their current skills and the website will show how those skills can be applied in other energy industries like solar, wind or geothermal.

Read more: Canada’s net-zero climate goals may fuel inflation but offer long term ‘win-win’: experts

“Right now (in) the fossil fuel industry around the world, jobs are dwindling because of many reasons, but primarily because countries are trying to meet net zero (targets) and trying to meet their climate targets,” Iron & Earth’s Luisa Da Silva said.

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“Fossil fuel workers have all the base skills that are needed to build the new economy. You’ve been on the ground, you know what’s needed.”

The website also highlights job openings and even directs visitors to courses that can be taken to level up if needed.

“What we have heard for years is that they simply don’t understand how their skills can be used in the new economy,” Da Silva said. “They also don’t have a good grasp of what jobs are available to them.

“This empowers the worker to (find out) how they can transition over.”

Read more: What do Canada’s net-zero targets mean for Albertans?

Clayton Strang has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than a decade.

“(I have) seen, over the course of five years, two major boom and bust cycles and that really left me kind of shaken up,” he said.

Strang said he believes this portal can be a gamechanger.

“I was looking for something that is going to contribute to net-zero outcome, but I didn’t see very many jobs.”

Strang has a background in environmental services and has worked as a heavy duty mechanic. He said his skills can transfer into a lot of green energy jobs.

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“There are, for instance, wind turbines — a lot of the mechanical side of it is very similar. It wouldn’t be hard to transition.”

Right now, Strang is taking computer engineering courses and hopes to enter the energy field once again. He hopes in the meantime that there will be support from governments to help achieve climate goals.

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