Name: Shane Stirling
Company: Epscan Industries
Number of Employees: 130
Number of Internationally-Trained New Canadians: 2
Epscan has over 35 years experience in oil & gas, mining, pulp, wood and paper industries. Epscan provides industrial electrical and instrumentation construction & maintenance contractor services to production and transmission clients, and supplies turn-around maintenance and shift maintenance at numerous other locations. Epscan is currently in the process of constructing two upstream compressor stations and a hydrocarbon handling hub.
With locations across the province, Epscan has vast experience in the employment of internationally trained new Canadians. Dustin Stirling has been working in this family-owned business for the last 20 years in various capacities, and is currently acting as General Manager for the company.
What are some of the greatest benefits to hiring new Canadians?
In addition to adding diversity to the dynamics of our workforce, new Canadians often introduce new methods of working and new techniques that we can apply to our industry.
Which skills or occupations, if any, are you having the most trouble staffing in your organization?
We are currently struggling to find qualified administrative assistants and to fill shop positions. Looking ahead, we feel that skilled and certified instrumentation and electrical journeypeople will soon be in short supply.
What kinds of assessment tools or techniques do you use to assess the attitudes, skills and qualifications of prospective new Canadians?
We use the Canadian Red Seal certification programs and the Industry Training Authority of BC curriculum reviews. We feel that any skilled tradesperson, with the right mentoring and studying, should be able to pass the exams. Practical experience is also assessed in the workplace by senior journeypeople.
What types of orientation or training initiatives do you have to help integrate new Canadians in your organization?
Epscan encourages trade certification for all applicable employees as well as ESL training to help overcome some of the language barriers that new Canadians face when they start working for the company.
In your opinion, what types of services or resources are needed to improve a new Canadian’s performance and job satisfaction?
Locally, the health services infrastructure needs to keep pace with growing demand from both new and existing Canadians in the community. Advanced language skills courses and training should also be promoted, and offered more frequently.
The oil and gas industry also needs to realize that training and socializing new Canadians is a task that needs to be adopted by everyone in the industry. Clients need to understand that contractors do and will train workers, but the bulk of their practical experience is often gained on-site, outside of a controlled training environment.