February 23, 2021Empowering Futures Is For You

Employers can strengthen their companies and secure our industry’s future by signing up for the electricity sector’s work-integrated learning program.

Canada’s electricity sector is changing fast. We’re enabling the country to fulfil its international commitments for carbon emissions. We’re developing smart and micro-grids that improve how we store and deliver energy. And we’ve been aging as a workforce, losing five percent of our workers annually in the past few years, which translates into more than 17,000 workers retiring between 2017 and 2022 alone.

This labour shortfall is an especially urgent and tricky puzzle for us to solve. Our industry must have a sufficient number of variously skilled workers to navigate our way through the rapidly changing landscape. Making this challenge still more daunting is that every other economic sector is feeling the skills-shortage pinch.

As a result, the hiring tables have turned. For generations, young people entering the workforce had to impress prospective employers; now the onus is on electricity employers to help graduating university and college students understand the value of careers in our sector.

Sensible solutions to the skills shortage

What is the best way for us to attract, recruit and retain Gen Z? The answer is work-integrated learning. Known as WIL, it’s a form of experiential education that—through co-ops, internships and placements—give students practical experience in actual workplaces. In other words, WIL enables young people to apply their academic knowledge and skills in practical work environments.

Empowering Futures is the WIL program for the electricity industry in Canada. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, Empowering Futures provides subsidies of up to $7,000 per student position to electricity industry employers that create WIL opportunities.

The three main advantages of the program are clear. Its direct subsidies lower your financial barrier to hiring students and make the building of the industry’s future workforce more straightforward. Empowering Futures also reduces your company’s risk of bringing on fresh talent by enabling you to try out prospective workers before hiring them full-time. And it’s structured so you can bring on students with whatever specific skills your operations need—finance, engineering, communications, computer technology, risk management.

Sign up today

Empowering Futures has been in existence for three years. In that time, 176 electricity employers have used it to create 1,055 placements for students. The initiative has backed these employers and students with some $12.1 million. Empowering Futures continues to support employers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic: Your company can apply to be pre-approved for funding before finalizing any student hiring; and you can have students complete their work placements remotely if necessary.

Empowering Futures is geared up to do even more—to support more employers financially, so they can supply vital experience to students, so this fresh talent can ensure our fast-changing industry stays safety-focused, highly skilled, diverse and productive. Do your part: Sign up for Empowering Futures today.


This article was updated on April 15, 2021 to reflect current program details.


Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program