The number of major construction projects getting underway in Edmonton’s downtown has increase, as has the number of vacant job positions – and the industry is going into high gear trying to fill those positions.

From radio advertisements, to job fairs, the hiring blitz in Edmonton is well underway – with companies trying to fill jobs for projects ranging from the downtown arena, to the new Royal Alberta Museum, a number of condominium high-rises, and at least two office towers.

One metalworking company has launched a radio advertisement campaign, inviting potential employees to “be part of the boom”, specifically to work on the new arena.

“Promoting a very attractive project is a great way to bring in that skilled labour that we’re all looking for,” Scott Matheson, with the Alberta Construction Association said.

The Alberta Construction Industry said thousands of workers will be needed to fill vacant positions for those projects, but said there won’t be a labour shortage like in 2006 and 2007.

“Construction in the area is picking up, but it’s steady, no alarm bells yet,” Matheson said.

What officials are most concerned about, Matheson said is what will happen with the workers after the projects are finished.

“It’s a real challenge for our construction industry to try to assign resources to a location, to a job and then re-assign them when you need them somewhere else,” Matheson said.

The union said there shouldn’t be any concern for those workers in the future.

“Can it be sustained?” Larry Villeneuve with the Construction and General Workers Union Local 92 said. “I believe so, I think it’s a really great opportunity, as a result of all the growth that’s going on.”

The Alberta Construction Association said mega projects like the arena won’t always be in the works, but in many cases, skills learned on such projects are transferable to other kinds of construction.

With files from Bill Fortier