Saturday, March 6, 2021


Consider a Career in Construction

By Tania Moffat

Canada’s construction industry may have proven its resiliency in the face of a global pandemic but growing workforce shortages will not be easy to overcome. “For the first time in decades, the industry has more projects than people,” stated Mary Van Buren, Canadian Construction Association president in a press release back in late 2020.

With an estimated 257,000 workers expected to leave the workforce within the next decade BuildForce Canada expects the industry to be short 82,000 workers by 2029. Canada needs reimagine the industry.

The success of Manitoba’s ongoing and future construction projects depends on recruiting and training skilled workers. Attracting underrepresented groups such as women, First Nations, youth and newly immigrated Canadians will help to increase numbers in a steadily declining workforce.

Individuals interested in learning more about starting a career in construction or building upon their existing skillset are encouraged to contact the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba (OETIM).

In Manitoba, large-scale construction projects and employment are on the rise despite short-term disruptions due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, an ageing workforce and shortage of skilled workers entering the sector could leave the industry crippled. While First Nations currently make up 16 percent of Manitoba’s labour force, more are needed to address the markets need for skilled workers.

With several future projects planned across the province the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba (OETIM) encourages First Nations people and other underrepresented groups considering a career in construction to look into available funding programs. OETIM offers free, monthly informational sessions.


More women needed in construction

Construction projects in Manitoba are on the rise but the industry is in need of replacing its aging workforce. Looming labour shortages due to an estimated 8,300 workers retiring over the next decade means recruiting new people is paramount. The industry is looking to traditionally underrepresented groups such as women to help fill the labour shortage.

There are approximately 5,700 women in Manitoba working in construction, making up 3.4 percent of the current workforce. Funding programs for skilled trades are opening up even more opportunities for women in this sector. The Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba (OETIM) encourages them to get involved. They have proudly trained many women in heavy equipment operation, including Manitoba’s first female crane operator.


30 years of experience and expertise

The Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba (OETIM), established in 1986, offers quality hands-on training with the most qualified professional trainers in the industry. Students are provided with nationally recognized credentials which allow for the mobility of skills and certifications across Canada.

“OETIM’s main focus is to train people who either want to get into construction or are in the industry and want to increase their skills. We have developed a solid reputation with our curriculum and quality of training. As a not for profit institute, we are continually reinvesting in new equipment for our students to train on,” says Betty Lou Doerksen, OETIM’s executive director. “We pride ourselves in giving our clients the best training possible.”

Students can feel confident in the education they receive from OETIM, as they are the trusted source for training and re-certification services in the construction industry. As a registered, private vocational institute in Manitoba, OETIM’s program provides students with up-to-date skills and knowledge that are relevant to their chosen field of employment. OETIM is a federally recognized training facility and issues T2202 tax receipts.

Training for today to fulfill the demands of tomorrow

Candidates interested in becoming heavy equipment operators and attending our course are required to have a valid Class 5 driver’s license, be 18 years of age and have a minimum grade nine education. While there is no heavy lifting required, potential students should be physically fit and in good health. Other assets include good hand-eye coordination, decision making, problem-solving and the ability to work under pressure.

As a heavy equipment operator, students will need to be able to work in extreme conditions and independently for long periods. Previous experience in the construction industry is preferred but not required. OETIM asks interested clients to contact them to schedule a free assessment. Candidates must be accepted by OETIM before they can attend the HEO course.

An essential part of training to be a heavy equipment operator is receiving hands-on experience in real, up-to-date equipment. OETIM’s Entry Level Heavy Equipment Operator course does just that. The 240-hour course is split between 80 hours of theory and 160 hours of practical experience on five or more pieces of equipment.

Students are trained in the safe operation, routine maintenance and inspection of equipment inspection, planning and executing work, including working with other trades and operators. Experience is provided on the following equipment in various models and sizes: dozer, loader, excavator, grader, rock truck, tractor-loader-backhoe. Operators with training on more than one piece of equipment are more employable and have more job opportunities available to them.

Monthly assessment sessions consist of a presentation informing attendees of what OETIM’s training entails and what is expected from students. Heavy equipment courses run 12 months a year, and various funding sources are accepted. The majority of the training is delivered at OETIM’s field training site in the R.M. of Springfield where they simulate a real construction site on 40-acres.

OETIM offers other training courses that relate to safety in the construction industry. For more information on registering for a Free Assessment at OETIM contact them at 204.775.7059 or visit for more information.