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Michelle Branigan_Electricity Human Resources Canada

Michelle Branigan

Chief Executive Officer of EHRC

Yoana Turnin_Electricity Human Resources Canada

Yoana Turnin

Project Manager, Empowering Futures Program at EHRC

Electricity Human Resources Canada empowers the future of Canada’s electricity workforce with exceptional programs that lead to successful career paths. 

Exacerbated by the pandemic, Canada is amid a record-tight labour market. With an industry-wide shortage of workers, there are more than one million unfilled jobs across the country and a historically low unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent. Not only that, but demographic shifts have also contributed to labour gaps, especially in the electricity sector. 

Pre-pandemic, Canada’s electricity industry saw a retirement rate of 1.5 times the national average — a number that’s trending upward — while apprenticeship registrations have been down nationally. 


Diversifying the industry with new talent

The major trends driving significant transition in Canada’s electricity sector point to one common denominator — the critical need to build diverse teams with the skills to manage both today’s power systems and our electricity systems of the future.

“Canada is well prepared on many fronts because we’re world leaders in renewable energy generation,” confirms Michelle Branigan, CEO of EHRC. “We have a strong education and training system and a reliable and safe electricity grid. Now we need to focus on inclusivity,  ensuring that anyone who wants to work in the sector — regardless of gender and background — can find their place.”

“The sector faces under-representation in many demographics, including those under 25, women, those with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and many more,” advises Yoana Turnin, Project Manager of Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) Empowering Futures program. “This is a challenge, and also an opportunity to tap into the unrealized potential for the long-term health of Canada’s electricity workforce.”

EHRC is doing just that. The electricity sector in Canada is generating more opportunities for rewarding, in-demand careers in renewable energy and clean technologies as young employees are increasingly attracted to professions for a healthier planet. 

The importance of mentorship and networking

The Empowering Futures program is Canada’s student and apprentice work placement initiative for the electricity industry. The goal of the program is to prepare students for the future of work by providing direct hands-on opportunities before entering the workforce, giving them confidence in their abilities, and helping them build their professional network. 

The program not only equips students and apprentices with hands-on experience, it  also provides financial incentives between $5,000 and $10,000 to employers who create these work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities. With the financial incentives, employers can minimize the financial barrier to hiring , grow and diversify their talent pool, and strengthen the industry’s workforce.

“Employers have shared that students are a great resource and asset to their organizations,” says Turnin. “Their energy, open-mindedness, and willingness to try are important for organizational development and future growth.”

Since the program launched in 2018, there have been more than 2,000 successful placements, with another 1,700 expected by April 2024. Many students rate the program as having increased their job readiness, knowledge, and experience in their area of interest.

The Empowering Futures program also unlocks access to additional high-value resources, including tailored Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for employers and networking and mentorship opportunities for students and apprentices through its Mentor Junction tool that helps build mentorships in the electricity sector.

Electricity employers can apply today to access funding and resources through the Empowering Futures program. If you’re a student interested in a rewarding career in the trades, discover internships and work-integrated learning opportunities in the electricity sector through the Empowering Futures program.

Meet Adelle, a hydro technologist in a field position that monitors indoor and outdoor elements to ensure that our dams are safe. Meet Justin, a wind turbine technician, who enjoys fresh air at 300 feet. Meet Zoee, who believes that ideas can become the reality that will change our world. Check out EHRC’s national Job BoardMentorship programs, and videos featuring career options.

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