Working On An Annotated Sign Shop Directory

From the “what’s up” Department ::

I‘m working on an annotated directory of sign shops that have a decent web presence. It’s still a work in progress but you can check it out if you want. It’s going to take a few days to get the list I’ve compiled entered into the directory as I personally visit every site and give a brief summary of what the site is all about.

As soon as the sign shop directory is finished I have several others that I’m going to be working on in the very near future. After all, it’s winter here in Alberta so I need a good excuse to avoid the frozen outdoors.

Anyhow…, there’s a bunch of things that need to get done so I guess I better get back at it. 

Working On A New Image Gallery

From the “what’s happening” Department ::

After playing around for the better part of a day and a half I finally have a working version of a CSS/XHTML picture gallery. Seeing as my full time job is a graphic designer for a sign company I thought I would showcase a few sign designs and layouts. CSS can get downright confusing if you want to know the truth.

Check out the Sign Design Gallery and let me know if you experience any problems with it. Your feedback is appreciated.

Anyhow…, that’s what I’ve been up to. 

Still Lots of Jobs Going Unfilled in Alberta

From the “here and now” Department ::

The latest provincial economic report from the Toronto Dominion Bank would suggest the boom in Western Canada has peaked, and it may well have but there are still hundreds of jobs going unfilled. A large part of the reason the jobs are going unfilled is that the housing situation is a bit tight. The situation is worse in the larger centres of Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge. Of course that’s where most of the jobs are but there is still lots of work available for the taking amongst the hundreds of communities scattered throughout Alberta.

So just how do you go about finding accommodation if you’re several hundred if not thousands of miles from the action. If you can afford the luxury of sending out a friend or family member to do the scouting you likely have a good chance of wedging yourself into the Alberta economy. If that isn’t an option then you’re going to have to check out the Canadian Community Newspaper Association database of newspaper websites to see what’s happening. Many of these are only published once a week so it may be more effective to find the place where you want to live and then post a job wanted or accommodation wanted classified ad. Google Earth will give you a pretty good bird’s eye view of Alberta and can help you get your bearings when going through the community newspapers.

One other solution to finding accommodation would be to join a freecycle group in the community or communities you’re interested in and post an accommodation wanted ad to the newsgroup. You’ll have a pretty good chance of finding something that may not be on the market yet avoiding the annoyance of fighting the crowds of others scrambling for the somewhat scant listings of accommodations available in the classifieds. Contacting real estate agents advertising in the community newspapers might get you results too. Real estate agents often know of rental properties as they usually trade hands through the agents. The key here is to get creative with your search and research.

Unskilled labour shouldn’t have any problem getting CAN $12.00 to $17.00 an hour but be prepared to pay at least a thousand dollars a month for modest accommodations. Smaller centres will likely give the best chance of finding a decent paying job coupled with somewhat better housing availability. If it’s oilfield work you’re after then you’re going to have to have what they refer to out here as safety tickets. This link to the Grande Prairie Regional College explains exactly what safety tickets are all about. They are, generally speaking, pretty easy to get and it’s relatively easy to find a weekend course throuout Alberta that will ultimately provide you with the necessary tickets. Other than your safety tickets, steel toed boots are a common requirement. With your new boots and your freshly minted safety tickets you’re ready to hit the pavement and land that dream job. Pack a lunch while you’re out job hunting as it’s not uncommon to get hired on the spot.

As for skilled tradesman the market is pretty much wide open no matter if you’re interested in the larger cities or if smaller communities are more to your liking. CAN $20.00 to $60.00 or more an hour is generally what a skilled tradesman can expect in remuneration. Union jobs are a bit of a rarity in Alberta compared to the rest of the country but companies here tend to be a lot more generous as well. The ambitious will have no trouble making a good living in Alberta while slackers are more than likely to get skidded – (fired) – in short order.

Those seeking jobs or careers in the financial, business, legal, and technology sectors have much less choice when it comes to places to work as this kind of work is pretty much confined to the larger cities. Jobs in education and or the medical sectors of the economy are often available in smaller communities and the pay is generally on par with what you would expect in the larger cities with the added advantage of cheaper accommodations and living expenses. If you’re thinking of moving to Alberta for work don’t overlook the smaller communities as there is plenty of work available in rural Alberta. Many of the smaller communities in Alberta are often right in the middle of the oilfields.

To aid those searching for work in Alberta I’ve put together a couple of directories that many people have put to good use. The employment directories I’ve compiled point directly to the job opportunities page of many of the best companies to work for in Alberta. Check out the links below for a gold mine of Alberta job opportunities.

  • Corporations Now Hiring – a directory of some of the best companies to work for in Alberta with the links pointing directly to jobs available. I don’t know of another list like it.
  • Education Jobs Available in Alberta – a directory of all the school divisions in Alberta with links pointing directly to jobs available.
  • Employment Agencies and Job Boards – an extensive directory of links to job seeker sites and employment agencies with a presence in Alberta.
  • Job Hunting Resources – a directory of links pointing to sites offering government assistance, resume writing, example cover letters and things of that nature. Well worth checking out for the serious job seeker.

Although this is by no means a comprehensive way of getting a job in Alberta it should point you in the right direction and give you a bit of an advantage over the masses migrating to Alberta to take advantage of the still booming economy. Alberta offers a lot more than just good paying jobs and has benefits not found anywhere else in Canada. Some of the lowest taxes in Canada would likely take the top spot on the list while outdoor recreation wouldn’t be too far behind. Hope to see you soon and lots of luck with your job and accommodation search!

Hasta La Bye-Bye Señor Job Seeker 

National Institute of Nanotechnology Officially Opened

From the “nano nano” Department ::

The new National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) in Edmonton is officially open. University of Alberta President, Indira Samarasekera says, “We are spectacularly proud to have this facility housed in the city of Edmonton and the University of Alberta.” And rightly so. This facility should attract some of the brightest minds in the nanotechnology field.

The government of Alberta provided $40 million for the project with the balance of funding coming from the National Research Council, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Natural Resources Canada. Total cost of the project was in the neighbourhood of $52 million. That’s a lot of loot – we’re not talking nano-bucks here.

It’s nice to see some of the obscene wealth generated by pump-jacks being pumped back into some serious scientific research. Preston Manning, chair of NINT’s board of trustees summed it up nicely when he told the gathered scientists, “I think many of you have the idea that governments and politicians are only interested in the applications and commercialization of your work,” he said. “But we want you to know, and we want you to know today, that we value you, most of all, for the work you do in increasing our basic understanding of how the world works at a fundamental level.”

Anyhow…, let’s see if we can realize some seriously small things from this monumental edifice and it’s state-of-the-art rigging. In the words of Dr. Bob Wolkow, principal research officer, “The entire package, the resources that have been put together for me, are the best. They are second to none. What you see starting here, it’s hard for a lay person to know, but you’re really looking at facilities that are among the best in the world.”

I’m quite certain this facility is going to attract some of the most gifted and talented students from across Canada and around the world and that’s a good thing. The chance for them to work with some of most gifted and talented scientists the world has to offer can only mean really big things from really small things – nanoparticles.

Those of you interested in reading more can check out the official news release from the University of Alberta in respect to the new National Institute for Nanotechnology.

Hasta La Bye-Bye Señor Nano Meister 

The Welsh Connection to Canada’s Diamonds

From the “sparkly rocks” Department ::

Gren and Eira Thomas are familiar names to anybody interested in Canadian Diamonds. They are Aber Resources and partners in Canada’s largest diamond mine, Diavik. Here’s an interesting story about how a would be Welsh coal miner left Wales to find a different form of carbon in Canada’s North, the crystallized diamond version of carbon.

Keep checking back – this is your spot for the latest in Canadian diamond news. They have made some people in Canada obscenely rich and I think there’s a lot more of them to be found.

Anyhow…, gotta run!

Hasta La Bye-Bye Señor Diamond Hunter