Sector workforce needs 20,000+ new workers: EHRC
A recent report on the industry’s labour needs from Electricity Human Resources Canada suggests at least 20,500 new workers will be needed in power plants and transmission systems before 2022, Canadian Press reports.
“It’s extremely critical,” said Michelle Branigan, the CEO of the organization formed 15 years ago to address workforce concerns in the sector.
Almost 107,000 people are employed directly in the industry in Canada, from generation to power delivery. Currently the industry is not as diverse as Canada as whole, with women accounting for only one in four employees and visible minorities just over one in 10. It’s also older than average: Workers under age 25 account for fewer than one in 20 people.
The demand for new workers is complicated by the fact many of the jobs require substantial training.
“These people are not trained in like three months or six months and ready to hit the ground running,” said Branigan.
Most of the new workers will be needed to replace the aging workforce, but the industry is also expanding as demand for power grows thanks to battery-powered electronics, electric cars and digital systems.
The future workforce is also going to have to be more agile, and able to work with the renewable energy systems and digital technologies that are transforming the sector at a rate it has never before seen, said Branigan.
Failing to address this critical demand for workers runs the risk that Canada’s power systems will become less reliable, she said.
“If you don’t have the right people in the right place at the right time, with the right skills, that’s where we could run into difficulty,” she said.
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