Empowering Futures is the work-integrated learning (WIL) program that is exclusively dedicated to the electricity industry in Canada. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, Empowering Futures provides subsidies of up to $7,500 per student position to employers that create co-ops, internships, placements and other WIL opportunities. Empowering Futures enables our industry to manage the three intersecting forces that are reshaping the Canadian electricity sector.
First, Canada has made international commitments to become a net zero carbon economy by 2050, and our country must start reaching rigorous targets for carbon emissions as early as 2030. Second, new technologies are changing how our industry operates as smart and micro-grids are being built into existing systems and changing how energy is stored and delivered. And third, the workforce is getting older and aging workers are retiring. Our industry is losing five percent of its workforce each year, which translates into some 20,500 workers every five-year period.
Wanted: 20,500 new workers
Each of the three forces is difficult to harness. Yet the third is especially problematic, because our industry must have a sufficient number of workers to navigate through this landscape of rigorous targets and changing methods of storage and delivery. The need for fresh talent is especially acute in critical positions such as utility managers and smart-grid specialists.
The need for fresh talent is especially acute in critical positions such as utility managers and smart-grid specialists.
The need doesn’t end there, however. Our industry also requires cyber security specialists, financial planning professionals, risk-management authorities, customer-relationship experts—the list goes on.