Career Profiles

Onshore/Offshore Welder



Oil Industry Careers in Newfoundland and Labrador

Paul Walsh

Hometown: Topsail

Company: D.F. Barnes Limited

“I enjoy working in the oil and gas industry because of its interesting nature and the rewarding aspect of it.”

 

Education

Prior to beginning his career, Paul attended Academy Canada and College of the North Atlantic where he completed the Welding program. He says his high school courses in math (which helped him understand blueprints and dimensional checks and surveys) and physics (which gave him an understanding of different metals and their properties) were most applicable to his post-secondary studies. Paul says that his youth participation in Cadets also helped prepare him for his future career by making him more mature and giving him a better awareness of the outside world. He feels that being involved in running has also been important as it has kept him in good physical shape to help prevent injuries on the job.

 

Lifestyle

Paul’s work as a welder in the oil and gas industry involves both work in the shop and offshore. A typical work week in the shop is 40 hours, while offshore he works 12-hour shifts each day that he is there. When he is offshore, he usually works as lead hand or supervisor, which can increase his shift to 13 hours per day.

 

Paul currently lives about 20 minutes from his place of work in downtown St. John’s. His typical duties as a welder include using several tools such as a cut torch and performing a wide variety of welding operations. His work can be physically demanding when lifting heavy metals and working for long periods of time. Paul says his workplace can be hazardous but there are safety regulations in place to prevent accidents. People who enter the shop floor are equipped with hard hats and safety glasses, while employees are equipped with these items as well as ear plugs, gloves, work boots and coveralls. Welders must also wear their welding shields when working. The shop is also equipped with a variety of workplace health and safety equipment, including several exhaust fans to release dense smoke created by welding. Paul says the large number of welders in the shop means that workers have to be aware of and cautious around each other. When working outside the shop, for example, welders must have a firewatch in case any debris catches fire, and fire blankets are used as an extra precaution.

 

Paul’s career began with an apprenticeship in welding, during which he spent time in Alberta to earn his required hours of work. He returned to this province to receive his journeypersons designation in welding. He was one of the youngest journeyperson welders to graduate from the College of the North Atlantic at the time. Paul is proud of the solid reputation he has built for himself as a welder in the oil and gas industry. He has done critical procedures for pipe jobs that could cost his company a multi-million dollar contract if not done correctly. He has been rewarded for his good work by being made a lead supervisor for offshore work. Paul says he would like to stay with his current employer because they are growing so much, and aim for more contracts and office-based work in the future.

 

Compensation and Benefits

The current salary range for Paul’s occupation is $85,000-100,000 annually, while career compensation can range from $100,000-120,000. Paul’s employer provides him with health and dental benefits, RRSPs, yearly bonuses and company profit-sharing. He also receives different types of hazard pay such as confined space and height pay. Paul’s employer also provides a variety of work-related training, as well as Basic Survival Training for those who wish to work offshore. Paul believes that shop rates for welders within St. John’s are comparable to each other, while offshore oil and gas rates are usually much higher. He says that onshore welders earn roughly $40,000-50,000 a year while offshore workers receive somewhere around $120,000 annually.