These rewarding careers benefit all Canadians while paying exceptionally well

June 5, 2024

This story originally appeared in the Times Colonist. 

If ever there was a case to be made for a fulfilling job, and in turn a fulfilling life, look no further than Darren Keeler.

He started at Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards in his early 20s as a junior tradesman back in 2002.

Now in his mid 40s, Keeler has climbed the ranks to a senior chargehand position.

It’s an upwards career trajectory that will see Keeler’s house paid off in five years. He owns a boat, a truck and a trailer, and gets after it camping and fishing alongside his wife and two daughters in his down time.

Comfortable retirement isn’t just a pipedream, it will be a reality when the time comes.

In short, Keeler is living his best Island life – and he didn’t have to spend years flying out to remote camp jobs to do so.

“I started from the bottom and now I live in a house by the ocean close to where I was born,” Keeler says. “Working here at Seaspan is the best job in my trade that I can get and still be able to sleep in my bed and be there for my family.”

This type of career arc and lifestyle is available through numerous opportunities at the Victoria Shipyards, as Seaspan is looking to hire skilled trades workers across a number of career paths: welders, shipfitters, metal fabricators and other repair and refit types of positions.

At Victoria Shipyards, the team is currently engaged with the Canadian government on two long-term refit and modernization projects: the Victoria In-Service Support Contract (VISSC) to modernize the Royal Canadian Navy’s current fleet of submarines, and the Halifax-Class Work Period (HCWP) to maintain and modernize Canada’s west coast-based Halifax-class frigates.

In addition to these long-term contracts, Victoria Shipyards has completed two large-vessel LNG conversions, including the first on the west coast of North America, and regularly completes short-term maintenance and repair projects on large cruise ships and fishing vessels.

These are projects that are both interesting and meaningful – it’s exciting to work on projects of national importance that will be used by Canadians for generations, where you can say you were part of something important.

Like Keeler, Christian Milne is an Islander through and through. Born in the Cowichan Valley, he now lives and works roughly an hour away from where he grew up.

“It’s been a definite boon for me and the family. We’ve got a really good benefit and wage package and we didn’t have to leave town,” Milne says. “If you’re the kind of person who wants to be home every night, this is about as good as it gets for skilled trades workers in town.”

Milne works as a welding chargehand and is a member of one of the company’s on-site safety committees.

“Safety is huge for us,” Milne says. “We have put a lot of energy and money into safety standards over the last few years and we actively get input from other employees on the job.”

Ready to build your future? Visit today to get started.