By Anthony Capkun
December 18, 2012 – To address “an unprecedented severe skilled labour shortage facing the renewable electricity industry”, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC)—formerly Electricity Sector Council (ESC)—is working with industry to develop a set of strategies for “recruiting and retaining the most important asset to any organization”: its skilled workers. According to EHRC, timely HR best practices and a “solid understanding of labour market conditions can make a big impact on a company’s bottom line well into the future”.
The two-year study that runs until February 2014 aims to deliver the labour market intelligence the renewable energy industry needs to proactively develop its HR strategies. “Renewing Futures” will enable each sector to understand the dynamics of the workforce, and to create the groundwork for labour mobility between different economic sectors.
The initiative covers training programs, regulations and government policies, certification, interprovincial mobility, retention and sector-specific specializations. “We hope this study will give Canada a robust information base and a coherent framework to build an even more skilled and globally competitive renewable electricity workforce,” said Ted Kantrowitz, chair of the Renewing Futures National Steering Committee.
The Renewing Futures website provides industry with research on labour market issues and tools for addressing skill shortages. “The project is a major step forward for the industry,” said EHRC’s executive director Michelle Branigan. “It is helping the industry with the HR intelligence it needs as it closes the gap between skilled labour supply and demand. Ultimately, it will ensure a healthy sustainable supply of workers that can build the required capacity for the next generation of clean energy systems. We have reached a crucial time where the industry must act on these long term strategies.”
Guiding the project is a national Steering Committee made up of industry stakeholders in the renewable energy industry, including CANWEA and CANSIA. Partnering with industry stakeholders from various sectors—including geothermal, solar, wind, hydropower, utilities, and education, labour and engineering—this initiative will lay the foundation for the establishment of a national unified renewable energy HR infrastructure.