EDGE UP, under the leadership of Calgary Economic Development, is a multi-stakeholder program launched in Calgary in 2019 to test new approaches to skills development for technology jobs. Following a successful two-year pilot program, Future Skills Centre is investing almost $5.4 million for short-term skills development in the current EDGE UP 2.0 program. The program will train over 320 exceptional career transitioners displaced from the oil and gas sector for digital tech roles. In this blog series, we’ll introduce you to a few EDGE UP 2.0 students.

Why should a company hire a seasoned ex-oil and gas professional who graduated from EDGE UP 2.0, as opposed to say a fresh grad from high school/college?

“Because we’re a new grad with 10 to 20 years of experience,” says Kurt Armbruster, a geologist whose last job was with Shell Canada. “That experience might be in a different field, but we understand the business world and working with people.

“If you are—say an engineering technology company—why wouldn’t you want an engineer with 20 years of experience and coding skills, rather than just coding skills?”

Choosing the full-stack development stream, Kurt has an abiding fascination with digital tech. In university, he enjoyed a coding course that was part of the requirements set out by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).

Later, working for a junior company before joining Shell, he worked with a product called AccuMap, which is a mapping, data management, and analysis software package.

“I ended up sort of being the internal helpdesk because I was so familiar with the software. Most people came to me with their problems before they went to AccuMap,” he says.

Working through the intense EDGE UP 2.0 course load, Kurt is looking forward to his WIL Digital placement, which he considers as critical to the success of this program as university summer jobs are to the oil and gas industry.