By Anthony Capkun
May 7, 2014 – This year’s winners of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People are credited with paying attention to the needs and aspirations of their youngest employees, so congratulations to the following: BC Hydro, Bruce Power LP, Eaton Industries (Canada) Co., Enmax Corp., Epcor Utilities Inc., Hydro Ottawa Ltd. and SaskPower. So what’s so special about them?
Among the various reasons they were chosen:
• BC Hydro manages the “Youth Hires Program”, which provides students with summer employment in trades and technical occupations to help facilitate their transition from school to the workplace.
• Bruce Power offers a development student program to provide training and work experience to full-time college and university students in disciplines such as information technology, engineering, operations, finance and human resources.
“We’re very pleased to receive this type of recognition,” said Cathy Sprague, Bruce Power’s executive vice-president, HR. “It reflects our ongoing commitment to ensure Bruce Power continues to be a fantastic place to work. It’s exciting to be a leader in attracting and retaining high-quality employees.”
• Eaton Canada manages a rotational leadership development program and hires new grads into full-time roles in various departments, including operations, technical sales, supply chain and finance. The program is 1-3 years in length and includes mentoring with a peer and senior leader, quarterly meetings, and participation in an annual leadership conference, with seminars, dinners and networking events.
“At Eaton, we recognize that our people are our most valuable resource,” said John Iannuzzi, division HR manager for Eaton in Canada, adding, “through our culture of doing business right, we can continue to attract and retain the best talent and achieve excellence through our people.”
• To demonstrate what they have learned about the company, Enmax’s summer students give a presentation to the executive team and CEO at the end of their term. The presentation is followed by lunch with the executive team, where students can interact with each executive.
• The Epcor training centre manages an apprenticeship program for power linemen, power system electricians and electricians. Apprentices who successfully complete the program become certified in their trade by the Alberta Apprenticeship Board.
• Hydro Ottawa recently piloted “The Student Apprentice”—a half-day program offering students the opportunity to present value-added ideas to the organization. The program provides a forum for students to interact with executives, including the organization’s president and CEO.
“Our programs for younger workers were shaped in order to create meaningful experiences, helping these employees contribute to the organization and our community early in their careers,” noted Bryce Conrad, president and CEO, Hydro Ottawa.
• SaskPower created the SaskPower Youth Network: a resource group for employees aged 30 and under that organizes youth-targeted activities and promotes the recruitment and retention of young employees. Through this network, SaskPower has hosted events such as annual student barbecues, plant tours, focus groups, and career fairs and development information sessions to help young employees plan their careers.
Now in its 12th year, Young People recognizes the nation’s leaders when it comes to attracting and retaining younger workers. The competition reviews a variety of initiatives, from mentorship to training and advancement opportunities.
“Innovation and adaptability don’t exist in a vacuum,” said Richard Yerema, managing editor of Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which oversees the competition. “Employers that make it easier for young people to thrive in their careers, it turns out, also make their organizational DNA more resilient and able to adapt faster to change.”
— With files from Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema
Photo © SaskPower