True North Living » Work » How Students Are Shaping a Bright Future for Canada’s Electricity Sector
Gabrielle Froese

Gabrielle Froese

Third-Year Student of Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia

larry gibbons

Larry Gibbons

Chief Human Resources Officer,

Canada’s energy landscape is rapidly changing, all in the interest of becoming greener and cleaner. This exciting shift also means high demand for new workers in the electricity sector: there are thousands of jobs available each year to replace retiring workers and support continued growth.

Working in electricity helps both people and the environment. Electricity is essential to the daily lives of Canadians, and our grid is overwhelmingly supplied by clean energy sources. Continuous innovation and application of clean energy technology are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our planet.

If fighting against climate change isn’t enough, working in electricity also offers great job security. Layoffs are few and far between, and the skills you gain will always be in high demand. The sector is also incredibly rewarding when it comes to compensation, with average annual salaries at roughly $80,000. There’s also a huge variety of roles, including environmental analysts, computer specialists, solar installers, engineers of many fields, and all kinds of organizational administration roles.

Empowering the future generation

Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) Empowering Futures student wage subsidy program helps students across the country build skills and gain career experience. By providing wage subsidies of up to $7,500 for work-integrated learning positions like co-ops and paid internships to employers, Empowering Futures creates opportunities for next-generation talent to start building their careers today. The program includes a variety of training and learning materials to complement the skills learned on the job.

Gabrielle Froese is a third-year student of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Earlier this year, she began specializing in the mechatronics program.

“I always liked building things and figuring out how things worked, and mechatronics is a nice combination of mechanical and electrical,” Froese says. “It really equips you with a wide variety of skills.”

As part of her program, Froese secured a four-month long co-op position to apply her classroom learning in the workplace. At UBC’s Mechanical Engineering Department, she worked as a research assistant on a floating offshore wind turbine project. Froese enjoyed the academic work so much that when she wanted to continue her work in a practical way, Empowering Futures funded her work on the project.

“I learned about academic research and gained valuable life skills like learning how to manage my workload and working independently,” says Froese.

Benefits for businesses

Empowering Futures benefits companies by allowing them to bring in students with cutting-edge knowledge. What’s more, engaging students in innovative projects can spark lasting professional relationships and build a pipeline of top talent who will be keen to return when their studies are complete.

Kinectrics Inc. is one of Canada’s leading providers of innovative science and engineering services, employing more than 1,000 engineers, scientists, and technologists. As a growing business, Kinectrics understands the need to support the development of students who are the workforce of the future. The company connected with EHRC to help achieve that goal.

Larry Gibbons, Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinectrics, says, “The Empowering Futures program not only funds new student hires, it also provides the opportunity to tap into a pool of talented students that are potential future employees. It has also helped us connect with educational institutions, onboarding the next cohort of electricity workers.”

Co-op students can expect to receive practical work experience, the ability to network with leading industry experts, the opportunity to explore future career options, and the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.

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