Canadian Contractor

How I ended up in the middle of a gas field in the Middle East

"In 1991, I took $3,000 out of my savings, studied oil-field related electrical systems for 8 months... and ended up in the middle of a gas field in the Middle East... an incredible adventure."

June 19, 2014
By Steve Payne
Steve Payne

This poster, David, argues for the importance of getting professional certifications and skills.

I am writing to defend the importance of acquiring professional certifications and skills… Skills come through experience and education, the higher the skill the more education is required.

I worked in Germany for a while and those workers were very skilled and very well educated in their respective trades and also very efficient. North America has not grasped the importance of having very highly skilled trades on a whole. The trades in Germany were paid very well…more than us and they appeared to have a good standard of living. Where I was assigned, the company had in-house classrooms for apprentices: You worked and attended school within that company’s structure. Those same (highly skilled) tradespeople were then assigned to another country, while we assembled and commissioned the project.
In my opinion, education creates freedom from control for anyone and opens doors to opportunities that unforeseen.

Continuing education always assisted me. From starting out wiring houses in my spare time at the age of 13 (I should have been studying) I worked my way up to become a chief electrician and maintenance superintendent working in
10 different countries. So mark my words, when you are older and out of work with no certificate, you will be… up the creek.


Just write your certificates, get the paper that proves to whoever, you passed the exam. In 1991, I took $3,000 out of my savings, after studying oil field related electrical systems for 8 months (had my Red Seal and unrestricted contractor’s ticket) and flew to Texas for a course. So many laughed at me and yet three weeks later I was in the middle of a gas field in the Middle East and at the beginning of an incredible adventure-filled 16 years.


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