By Barbara Vergetis Lundin
As a way to address Canada’s looming labor crisis, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has launched Bridging the Gap, a public/private initiative that aims at increasing the representation of women as skilled workers in the electricity and renewable energy sector. The initiative is being funded by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Hydro One, Employment Ontario, Alberta Advanced Education, and Engineers Canada.
EHRC will provide women with opportunities in career training, mentoring, and apprenticeships with the help of industry, government, and stakeholders, such as educators, labor union groups and others, who make up the initiative’s advisory committee.
Currently, women represent just a fourth of the electric industry workforce in Canada where the sector faces an aging workforce, significant skills gaps, and, ultimately, labor shortages.
“The electricity and renewable energy sector is poised for huge growth in the coming years, and we know that close to one in five new jobs in Ontario are expected to be in the skilled trades in the next decade,” said Reza Moridi, minister of training, Colleges and Universities. “It’s crucial that women have the opportunity to pursue meaningful work in technical vocations, trades and other professions in the skilled trades, and within the electricity and renewable energy sector.”
To address these issues, EHRC advocates a long-term talent strategy, which includes partnerships with industry, educators, training institutions, labor and others. For its part, EHRC will take the lead to strengthen existing initiatives and foster an environment for the development of practical and effective programs targeted toward women entering the workforce (at the high school, apprenticeship, college and university levels), as well as those currently working in the sector.
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