Training & Education
Women wanted! EHRC officially launches Bridging the Gap
By Anthony Capkun
August 11, 2014 – Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) unveiled its Bridging the Gap project: a public-private initiative aimed at increasing the representation of women as skilled workers in the electricity and renewable energy sector, in Ontario and nationally.
“With women representing only 1/4 of the electricity industry workforce, and fewer than 5% in the trades, it’s vital that we encourage women to become more engaged and represented,” said Michelle Branigan, CEO of EHRC. “Given the severe skills gap shortage that the industry faces, women offer organizations a solution to the pending labour crisis.”
EHRC is establishing itself as the central point of contact for providing women with information on career training, mentoring opportunities, apprenticeships and support. The association aims to strengthen existing initiatives and foster an environment for the development of practical and effective programs targeting women who are entering the workforce (at the high school, apprenticeship, college and university level), and women currently working within the sector.
The electricity industry faces an aging workforce, along with massive upgrades of its infrastructure, notes EHRC. Labour shortages are expected to be widespread among dozens of occupations and professions that encompass trades, engineering, management and administration.
“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, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities. “That’s why it’s so important that Employment Ontario and the [EHRC] are helping provide women with important information about these very attractive career options.”
Funding for Bridging the Gap came from Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Hydro One, Employment Ontario, Alberta Innovation & Advanced Education and Engineers Canada. EHRC adds its partners include industry, government and stakeholders, such as educators, labour union groups and others, who have come together to advise on the initiative.