Need A Job? Petroleum Company Internships Land You A Career


While the recent economic downturn has made it hard to find jobs in many sectors, the petroleum industry has remained a constant source of career opportunities for students and new grads.

The Canadian oil and gas sector needs to fill approximately 9,500 jobs by 2015, according to a recently released report by Petro Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform.

The report reveals that the demand for labour is increasing because of the aging workforce; as more oil and gas employees move towards retirement, they leave behind job openings for incoming students and new grads. Find student and entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry.

The petroleum industry has a wide range of occupational fields within it. Many positions are technical, hands-on, and/or field-based and include engineers, geologists, engineering technicians, tradespeople, operators and field workers, says PetroLMI. There are also business and operations support positions such as health and safety professionals, land managers, regulatory analysts and public relations professionals. The wide range of work means that there is something for everyone.

According to Cheryl Knight, the Executive Director and CEO of the PetroLMI, however, “The technical capabilities and knowledge of retiring, experienced workers are just not easily replaced by new entrants.”

Therefore, to gain the skills necessary to flow into the petroleum industry with ease, students should consider internships to get an edge against other applicants. Getting on-the-job experience in the field will not only help you learn the technical capabilities that Cheryl highlights, but you will also build your professional network and be considered for full-time employment.

Internships or co-op work terms are usually completed during school but are sometimes also available directly after graduation. They’re a great way to get your foot in the door and learning on the job.

With an internships and co-ops ranging from business to environmental science, it’s important that you do your research to figure out what type of placement is right for you. Talk to your career centre and professors, and search online as early as possible to learn what internships are available.

You should also network with people like professors, academic advisors, career counsellors, recruiters and professionals currently in the industry in order to make connections and find out what career paths and job opportunities are available.

Above all, persistence is important. Like job hunting, looking for an internship is a process that can take time, so students seeking internships just need to keep digging until you strike it big.

When to look for an internship, summer job or co-op placement:

Oil and gas internships, co-ops and summer jobs are posted throughout the year, but you’ll find the bulk of the jobs with large oil and gas employers posted in September, January and May. Most roles are posted three to four months in advance of the start date, however the lead time for some roles may be longer.

  • September: Internships, co-ops and summer jobs for college and university students are posted in early September, with deadlines ranging from mid to late September and early October. The start date for the internships and co-ops is usually January.
  • October-November: Work terms for college students are sometimes posted in October or November, after the university recruitment cycle has ended, with most start dates in January and May.
  • January: Internships, co-ops and summer jobs are posted for university students, with most start dates in May.
  • May: More internships and co-ops are posted for university students, with most start dates in September.

Petroleum Week

Visit the Petroleum Career Guide to learn more about careers in the oil and gas industry, and find student and entry-level jobs from top petroleum employers.

About the author

Ishani Nath is a proud McMaster alum, aspiring writer and current journalism grad student at Ryerson University. When she's not hammering out articles, she can usually be found on a patio or nestled on a couch trying to keep up with those crazy Kardashians. She hopes to one day have a job that makes her excited to get up each morning, or at least one that gives her free food. Intrigued? Enthralled? Learn more by following her on @ishaninath.