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31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

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Old Dec 30th 2017, 8:10 pm
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Question 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Hello from Manchester!

After years of hard work and perseverance I have finally been granted Permanent Residency in Canada, I plan on making the big move in March 2018.

As it stands at the moment I am struggling to decide on where best to set up my new life and am hoping that someone out there can give me some advice...

A bit more about me
I am a 31 year old male with no ties except for a house here in the UK (which I will be renting out when I move). I work on the railway and have a background in Train Driving and railway operations management, I intend on continuing along this career path in Canada. From a social perspective, I enjoy socialising but am just as happy having my own company. I'm not into the drinking scene that exists over here and would rather do something more productive. I really enjoy skiing and am getting into a more outdoor type of lifestyle.

My thoughts so far
I like Calgary (having visited a couple of times) and I think Calgary would be good from a social point of view, it's also not too far from the Rockies so I can ski and has a rail company presence. On the downside it appears to be very expensive (property wise) and although it is on the railroad, only one company is based there.

Edmonton - Recommended by rail professionals as it has two companies based there which means there may be a better chance of me finding work, it also seems to be cheaper than Calgary whilst still having the Alberta health care system (which I am led to believe is most like the NHS). The downside is that I have note read particularly good things about the social scene, meeting new people etc (at some point I would like to start a family but it would appear that a lot of people my age have already settled down and have families).

Jasper - Skiing in town, railroad presence (I am currently at interview stage for a job based here) but there doesn't seem to be much going on and I cannot find much information about living there, especially regarding property rentals.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba - A bit of a wildcard for me. It appears that there are often railway jobs posted here and that it is very cheap when it comes to property. I just don't know what else goes on there and I've heard that it is dull.

Questions
Does anyone out there have any thoughts on which location(s) may be better suited to me?
Am I correct in my research so far?
If I was to relocate without landing a job first, where would be the best places for a stop-gap job until something came up in my line of work?
Is there anything that I have missed or should consider?

Thank you very much in advance,

Paul

PS if there are any other single people emigrating soon I'd like to hear from you!
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Old Dec 30th 2017, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

You have spoken to CP and CN about work? Really hard to break into unless you are in the know.
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Old Dec 30th 2017, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

I don't know about job availability nor whether the skills are the same, but Ottawa is putting in a brand new and expensive Light Rail Transit system in 2018 and will likely be extending on a regular basis.

Ottawa in easy reach of Mt Tremblant (skiing). Property prices sensible (not like Vancouver or Toronto).
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Old Dec 30th 2017, 8:45 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by Aviator View Post
You have spoken to CP and CN about work? Really hard to break into unless you are in the know.
Thanks for your reply Aviator,

I've spoken to them several times. From what perspective is it difficult to break into? For the benefit of others (there doesn't seem to be much on the forums about train driving in Canada) these have been my experiences so far...they have not been easy...

Initially I was looking for Engineers (Train Driver) and Management vacancies but I hit two obstacles - 1. They would not sponsor me for PR and 2. I would not be able to walk into an Engineers job without starting as a conductor.

I then set out to get an open work permit to enable me to apply for Conductor and Management positions, last year I got my IEC and started applying again. I was approached by a manager on LinkedIn and invited to apply for a management position in Saskatchewan, it was all looking good and I was about to be telephone interviewed before the HR department stopped the process; this was because they were reluctant to invest time & money in my training for me to be kicked out of Canada when my 2 year IEC visa expired.

This was really frustrating for me but fortunately the CRS draws dropped low enough for me to get an ITA for PR. Now with PR I'm still getting knocked back for jobs, but this is due to the fact that I am not living in Canada. I think my best bet is to move and see what happens. I have no other reasons to believe that I will not be successful as I meet all of the requirements for the jobs I am applying for, nor have I been told by contacts on LinkedIn that I will find it difficult to get in.

I take it that you have railway experience yourself?

Thanks,

Paul
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Old Dec 30th 2017, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by Hurlabrick View Post
I don't know about job availability nor whether the skills are the same, but Ottawa is putting in a brand new and expensive Light Rail Transit system in 2018 and will likely be extending on a regular basis.

Ottawa in easy reach of Mt Tremblant (skiing). Property prices sensible (not like Vancouver or Toronto).
Thanks! This is news to me so I'll check it out... I do like the sound of Ottawa.
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 12:09 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

I assume you know that in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) there is a reasonably widespread (in Canadian terms) commuter rail system called GO (Gov’t of Ontario). It is a diesel system and seems to be constantly expanding.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GO_Transit
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 12:19 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by spav2k View Post
Thanks for your reply Aviator,

I've spoken to them several times. From what perspective is it difficult to break into? For the benefit of others (there doesn't seem to be much on the forums about train driving in Canada) these have been my experiences so far...they have not been easy...

Initially I was looking for Engineers (Train Driver) and Management vacancies but I hit two obstacles - 1. They would not sponsor me for PR and 2. I would not be able to walk into an Engineers job without starting as a conductor.

I then set out to get an open work permit to enable me to apply for Conductor and Management positions, last year I got my IEC and started applying again. I was approached by a manager on LinkedIn and invited to apply for a management position in Saskatchewan, it was all looking good and I was about to be telephone interviewed before the HR department stopped the process; this was because they were reluctant to invest time & money in my training for me to be kicked out of Canada when my 2 year IEC visa expired.

This was really frustrating for me but fortunately the CRS draws dropped low enough for me to get an ITA for PR. Now with PR I'm still getting knocked back for jobs, but this is due to the fact that I am not living in Canada. I think my best bet is to move and see what happens. I have no other reasons to believe that I will not be successful as I meet all of the requirements for the jobs I am applying for, nor have I been told by contacts on LinkedIn that I will find it difficult to get in.

I take it that you have railway experience yourself?

Thanks,

Paul
Hi Paul,

You are correct in your research, if you want to continue working on the rail road (as they call it here) you will have to train for a conductors position first, and move up to an engineer when you are qualified/a position becomes available. Infact it is mandatory that you take engineers training after a period of time as a conductor.

I have lived in Canada for 8 years now and got laid off from my job in my trained field as a mechanical designer earlier this year, and I am still unemployed, so I have been looking into possible career changes, working on the rail road was one of them. From what I have discovered, both CP and CN are hiring conductors, in various locations....the majority appear to be out west..... if you pass the interview and are selected you are placed on a conductors training program which I believe is in Winnipeg and lasts for something like 20 weeks, but is all paid for, and you are paid as you train.

You may already know, but from what I have found its a vocation not a job...you are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year except for vacation time and rest periods. But that will improve the more seniority you gain. The rail road will become your life, however it is very well paid, newly qualified conductors earn $85000 per year, engineers earn well over $100,000 and with CP I think you can earn extra vacation time.

The early years of working on the railroad is better suited to a young single person....you seem to be perfect, also remember that most of the positions are at yards in the middle of nowhere, so your not going to be doing much socialising for a while, again this will improve with time, as you can apply for other yards nearer to bigger towns/cities once you get more seniority.

It interested me as its very well paid, amazing pensions and I think it would be an interesting job....but you pay for that by being there ready to work all the time...in the early years anyway.

If you have PR, I would move here, get any job to tide you over and apply! see what happens, its not for everyone, but your past experience will surely help, even if it won't qualify you.

Let us know how you get on!

Cheers

Paul.
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 3:38 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Given the increase in oil being moved by rail, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to get a job.

Objectively Calgary is best place to live of the places you've listed. Jasper is in a national park, you can't live there unless you've got a job that requires you to live there.
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 9:31 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by plasticcanuck View Post
I assume you know that in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) there is a reasonably widespread (in Canadian terms) commuter rail system called GO (Gov’t of Ontario). It is a diesel system and seems to be constantly expanding.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GO_Transit
plasticcanuck, Thanks for the suggestion. I was aware of GO but I don't feel like I know an awful lot about GTA. I visited Toronto earlier in the year when the weather was the worst it had been in years (lots of rain and flooding), the city seemed comparable to London in how busy it was, so perhaps it didn't paint a good picture to me.

Are there any particular towns/cities you'd recommend over in the GTA?
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 9:43 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by Paul_Shepherd View Post
Hi Paul,

You are correct in your research, if you want to continue working on the rail road (as they call it here) you will have to train for a conductors position first, and move up to an engineer when you are qualified/a position becomes available. Infact it is mandatory that you take engineers training after a period of time as a conductor.

I have lived in Canada for 8 years now and got laid off from my job in my trained field as a mechanical designer earlier this year, and I am still unemployed, so I have been looking into possible career changes, working on the rail road was one of them. From what I have discovered, both CP and CN are hiring conductors, in various locations....the majority appear to be out west..... if you pass the interview and are selected you are placed on a conductors training program which I believe is in Winnipeg and lasts for something like 20 weeks, but is all paid for, and you are paid as you train.

You may already know, but from what I have found its a vocation not a job...you are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year except for vacation time and rest periods. But that will improve the more seniority you gain. The rail road will become your life, however it is very well paid, newly qualified conductors earn $85000 per year, engineers earn well over $100,000 and with CP I think you can earn extra vacation time.

The early years of working on the railroad is better suited to a young single person....you seem to be perfect, also remember that most of the positions are at yards in the middle of nowhere, so your not going to be doing much socialising for a while, again this will improve with time, as you can apply for other yards nearer to bigger towns/cities once you get more seniority.

It interested me as its very well paid, amazing pensions and I think it would be an interesting job....but you pay for that by being there ready to work all the time...in the early years anyway.

If you have PR, I would move here, get any job to tide you over and apply! see what happens, its not for everyone, but your past experience will surely help, even if it won't qualify you.

Let us know how you get on!

Cheers

Paul.
Thanks Paul,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, are you still enjoying Canada after 8 years?

The rail road is certainly a very interesting place to work here in the UK so I'd imagine it would be even more so in Canada. If you get an opportunity, I'd take it!

The information that you have given me is really useful, I hadn't realised just how much of your life you have to devote to it. Where have you found to be the best sources of information? Things like, pensions, leave other benefits etc?

How far are you off applying yourself?

Good luck in your search for new work!

Paul
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 9:49 am
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
Given the increase in oil being moved by rail, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to get a job.

Objectively Calgary is best place to live of the places you've listed. Jasper is in a national park, you can't live there unless you've got a job that requires you to live there.
Thanks for the insight Steve.

What makes Calgary stand out for you? How does it compare to other places you've lived?

In terms of Jasper, do you happen to know anything about renting property there? I've been using a site called rentfaster.ca but it has 0 listings for the area. I've not much of an idea of cost either.

Thanks again,

Paul
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 1:43 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by Paul_Shepherd View Post
Hi Paul,

You are correct in your research, if you want to continue working on the rail road (as they call it here) you will have to train for a conductors position first, and move up to an engineer when you are qualified/a position becomes available. Infact it is mandatory that you take engineers training after a period of time as a conductor.

I have lived in Canada for 8 years now and got laid off from my job in my trained field as a mechanical designer earlier this year, and I am still unemployed, so I have been looking into possible career changes, working on the rail road was one of them. From what I have discovered, both CP and CN are hiring conductors, in various locations....the majority appear to be out west..... if you pass the interview and are selected you are placed on a conductors training program which I believe is in Winnipeg and lasts for something like 20 weeks, but is all paid for, and you are paid as you train.

You may already know, but from what I have found its a vocation not a job...you are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year except for vacation time and rest periods. But that will improve the more seniority you gain. The rail road will become your life, however it is very well paid, newly qualified conductors earn $85000 per year, engineers earn well over $100,000 and with CP I think you can earn extra vacation time.

The early years of working on the railroad is better suited to a young single person....you seem to be perfect, also remember that most of the positions are at yards in the middle of nowhere, so your not going to be doing much socialising for a while, again this will improve with time, as you can apply for other yards nearer to bigger towns/cities once you get more seniority.

It interested me as its very well paid, amazing pensions and I think it would be an interesting job....but you pay for that by being there ready to work all the time...in the early years anyway.

If you have PR, I would move here, get any job to tide you over and apply! see what happens, its not for everyone, but your past experience will surely help, even if it won't qualify you.

Let us know how you get on!

Cheers

Paul.
No idea if this has any relevance to either you or the OP but GO are about to open a huge new maintenance facility in Whitby, due to open early 2018 I understand 😀
Happy New Year and good luck with job seeking opportunities.
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

"Railroad" is American.
It's the Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

Here's an article about their hiring more people
CN Rail says it will be hiring thousands as shipments surge | Financial Post
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by spav2k View Post
plasticcanuck, Thanks for the suggestion. I was aware of GO but I don't feel like I know an awful lot about GTA. I visited Toronto earlier in the year when the weather was the worst it had been in years (lots of rain and flooding), the city seemed comparable to London in how busy it was, so perhaps it didn't paint a good picture to me.

Are there any particular towns/cities you'd recommend over in the GTA?
There are a number of satellite cities around Toronto with most of them being on the GO system lines. Cities such as Pickering (where I’ve lived very contentedly for 34 years), Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa to the east and Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton to the west. There are also some north of the city such as Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket and Barrie. The GO system is/has been expanding through investments from various levels of Government.
Much Good Luck in your search.
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Old Dec 31st 2017, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: 31, single and just received my COPR - Any advice welcome

Originally Posted by spav2k View Post
Thanks Paul,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, are you still enjoying Canada after 8 years?

The rail road is certainly a very interesting place to work here in the UK so I'd imagine it would be even more so in Canada. If you get an opportunity, I'd take it!

The information that you have given me is really useful, I hadn't realised just how much of your life you have to devote to it. Where have you found to be the best sources of information? Things like, pensions, leave other benefits etc?

How far are you off applying yourself?

Good luck in your search for new work!

Paul
Hi Paul,

Yes depsite my latest situation, I still call Canada my home, the lifestyle suits me better than the UK. I have no desire to go back to the UK, however its something I cant rule out now due to my work situation, I think I could get work in my trained field easier over there than here, hence me looking into career changes here in Canada.

Both CN and CP websites are very informative about starting a career on the railway (i must have Americanised Canadian friends as they all call it railroad! ) any way as I said their websites are good, plus I have talked to a couple people who have had careers on the railway who are now retired. Added to this there are some websites where they interview people who have worked in careers that you are researching, on of these was called career cruising. I also found this too....which I thought was very useful...

https://toughnickel.com/finding-job/...rain-conductor

I haven't applied yet, its one of many options I am considering, its a radical option as it will not only mean starting all over again, but adjusting to a new life where the railroad is your life...I am single so I only have my self to consider, but I am a fair bit older than you at 47, I guess if I chose a job on the railroad I would remain single, and that is not something I have ever wanted.

However I have been unemployed for 7 months now....so my need is getting more urgent and options less, so I am more likely to choose something more radical, I have seen that CN and CP are not biased towards age, so I have that on my side, I also need to do a bit more research into it. If it is true that I could earn more leave time....then maybe there is a balance to be struck there somewhere.

Good luck....you have PR now so thats the big initial stumbling block out of the way on your new journey. Let me know how you get on, as I would be interested to find out more information too.

Cheers,

Paul.
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