‘I like knowing that this is going to lead to a brighter future’

Pipeline inspector training leads to long-term career opportunity for Frog Lake First Nation go-getter

Carlos Stanley owes his upward career trajectory as a pipeline inspector to fast action. But if you ask him, he’ll tell you many people have helped him to get where he is today.

Stanley was running errands near his home in Frog Lake First Nation, about 250 kilometres east of Edmonton, in July 2017 when he learned of a training opportunity with Enbridge—a two-week Pipeline 101 course. Resumes were due by 1 p.m. that day, which gave him just half an hour to act.

Stanley didn’t hesitate.

He rushed home, fired up his laptop, tweaked his resume and sent it off. Within the hour, he learned he’d been accepted and needed to go to Edmonton for the training, which included classroom instruction and hands-on work with heavy equipment.

A month later, as one of the top 14 graduates of the Pipeline 101 training, he was back in Edmonton for Pipeline Inspector Training. He graduated and came home on a Friday. The next day he received more news with an accelerated timeline—he was to report to work in Outlook, Saskatchewan first thing Monday morning.

Again, there was no hesitation. On arrival in Outlook, he was immediately deployed as an inspector in training with Resdin Industries Ltd. on Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project.

In the summer of 2018, he came back to the L3RP for cleanup activities in west-central Saskatchewan, and he’s now working in another region, as project construction pushes southeast of Regina. As a trainee, he shadows and learns from an inspector—usually working an access road or two ahead of the boring rigs, ensuring the right-of-way is ready for the crews that follow.

“We get along great out here,” Stanley says. “A lot of these guys have a lot of experience. I try to come across as someone who is here to help them. We’re on the same team, like a hockey team—that’s how I look at things.”

He is quick to credit Resdin and his Enbridge instructors, “who took the time to share their knowledge and experience with me.”

Now Stanley has his sights set on writing the API 1169 exam, which would make him a certified pipeline inspector. “I have to get one more year under my belt before I can write it,” he says. “That’s my goal. I want to push this as far as I can.

“I like knowing that this is going to lead to a brighter future. Even though right now I’m at a lower pay than what the regular inspectors are getting paid at, I know if I grind it out and I work hard I can get to where they’re at,” he adds. “I can see that because we actually had a guy retire today, he put in his 30 years – and that could be me down the road.”

Stanley encourages other Indigenous men and women to look at the opportunity to work in pipelining. His stepbrother, Victor Jackson, has come aboard as an inspector in training in western Saskatchewan and he’s been attempting to convince another sibling to give it a go.

“I tell people there’s a future there,” he says. “The pay is excellent, whether you’re a laborer or inspector—whatever you’re going to do on a pipeline, it’s going to be worth your while.”

(TOP PHOTO: Carlos Stanley's hustle got him into an Enbridge Pipeline 101 training course, and his hard work has kept his pipelining career on an upward trajectory.)