Aboriginal People in the Trades: Ryan Louis

 Ryan Louis and  John Deveau (Project Manager at HVET)

Ryan Louis and John Deveau (Project Manager at HVET)

Tapping into the Alberta oil rigs billion dollar industry requires hard work and determination. Ryan Louis knows this all too well after moving out West and spending 3 months on an oil rig. Ryan, a member from the Esginopetitj First Nation, always knew he wanted a career in trades but he soon found he was going to need more training to meet the demands of the industry.

“I was already out West on an oil rig,” said Ryan, “and there was times when I needed to run the front end loader and I didn’t have the certifications for it.”

When Ryan’s community Employment Training Officer told him about the Heavy Equipment Operator course in Tobique, Ryan seized the opportunity to get the credentials he needed to operate the heavy equipment.

He travelled to the Tobique First Nation for the first time and began the 12 week course administered by High Velocity Equipment Training in partnership with JEDI. Eager to learn, he quickly made friends with his classmates and became part of the team. 

“Learning how to work within a team, running heavy machinery, and meeting new people on the reserve,” said Ryan. “It was a good experience.”

Ryan was familiar with the different pieces of equipment but he found that the bulldozer, excavator, and the front end loader were crucial for most big jobs found on the oil rigs.

“They can do a lot compared to the smaller machines,” said Ryan. “They are the main machines used out West on the big job sites.”

Training as a Heavy Equipment Operator, Ryan enjoyed the learning process and plans to take what he has learned back to Alberta.

“It is fun learning new challenges,” said Ryan, “being an operator, and co-ordinating within a team.”

 He has applied to several positions out West and has been offered a full-time position operating a backhoe. Ryan also has the option of connecting with family members out West who are working in construction. Since his certification, many doors have opened up for him.

Ryan would like to thank JEDI for funding his course and he has offered some advice for others looking to venture out to Alberta’s booming oil industry.

“If you want a job,” said Ryan, “the number one thing is to have all of your safety tickets, a vehicle and some money before you go. You can’t just go out there and wing it, I did and it’s tough.”

JEDI wishes Ryan the best of luck in his future career and congratulates him on the completion of the HEO course.