Out-of-work Edmonton welder braves frigid weather in effort to land job
EDMONTON -- An unemployed Edmonton welder braved wind chills in the -30C range for about six hours Monday while taking his job search to a busy intersection.
Brian Wolfe was spurred to hit the boulevard at Groat Road and 111 Avenue after being unable to find work as a welder for nine months.
On Monday, he carried a sign that read "READY 2 WORK" and his phone number.
“It’s been rough. There’s nothing out there for us welders because there are too many welders,” said Wolfe, who’s only been able to find the odd shift as a temporary labourer.
“This is what you got to do if you really want to work in this day and age,” he said of his unusual job-search tactic.
Wolfe is not alone in his struggle to find employment, as the local job market is also ice cold.
On Friday, new StatsCan data listed Edmonton as having the highest unemployment rate of any major Canadian city at 8.0 per cent. Calgary was fifth at 7.1 per cent.
Alberta's provincial jobless rate saw a small decrease of 0.2 per cent, but still sat at 7.0 per cent in December.
"These numbers reinforce the importance of staying focused on job creation and ensuring that Alberta has a competitive business environment," a government spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News on Friday.
"This is another disastrous month for jobs and, unfortunately, it’s Albertans who are suffering,” NDP economic critic Deron Bilous wrote in a release.
"All this is happening as TMX is under construction. This Premier’s plan is failing Albertans. Period."
Wolfe is worried about his overdue utility bills and supporting his kids.
“I have a 17-year-old daughter who is going to be graduating this year and she has a lot of expectations of me, which I could provide if I had that full-time job as a welder,” he said.
After 15 years of supporting his family working a welding torch, Wolfe is unsure if that’s still a viable career in Alberta.
But despite his struggles and his worries, Wolfe has not given up hope or become bitter with despair.
“Edmonton is a wonderful and big huge hearts live in this city. And I will find a job if I stand on that corner,” he said, adding he may be back outside with his sign later in the week if he has to.
“It’s going to work. I’ve got promising calls and I think I’ll have a job within the next couple of days.”
Wolfe's persistence eventually paid off. On Tuesday, he told CTV News Edmonton he's accepted a temporary job with a scaffolding company, and is looking to earn enough money to renew his welding ticket.
He starts his new job Wednesday morning.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Matthew Black