Getting Started in Electricity: Students

 

If you’re looking for a career with a positive impact on people’s lives and the environment, with work available immediately after graduation, with job security, good wages, and the potential for innovation—then consider the electricity and renewables sector.

What careers are there in the electricity sector?

 

There are careers available in the electricity sector for you, regardless of your degree program. According to Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) latest Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) report, employment in the sector is anticipated to grow from 2017 overall by 2% by 2022 and will need to recruit over 20,500 new employees in that time. Anyone of those positions could be your dream job!

Engineering & Technology

 

The global energy sector is transitioning away from fossil fuels and is developing new and innovative sources of power. With a background in engineering or technology, you could find yourself building a nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) in the arctic for a remote community, constructing a microgrid for a remote off-grid community in the Canadian Rockies, or designing the artificial intelligence (AI) behind a new provincial smart grid system. Put your skills to work for a resilient and sustainable energy future—no matter your passion, the electricity sector is the place to pursue big ideas.

Engineering careers include:

  • electrical engineer,
  • electronics engineer,
  • civil engineer, and nearly every other field of engineering.

Technological careers include:

  • electrical technologist or technician,
  • electronics technologist or technician,
  • mechanical engineering technologist or technician,
  • civil engineering technologist or technician,
  • radiation technician, and more.

Those with engineering or technology experience but wanting a different practice may also consider a career as an engineering inspector or regulatory officer.

Trades

 

The electricity sector employs thousands in the trades, providing many options if you are currently in, or considering, an apprenticeship. Tradespeople in the electricity make up the backbone of the sector and there are many rewarding opportunities. You could be constructing powerlines through the prairies, overseeing the operation of a nuclear power plant, or harnessing the power of the sun into a home.

Options for tradespeople include:

  • powerline technician,
  • power cable technician,
  • power system operator,
  • utility arborist,
  • millwright,
  • welder,
  • industrial mechanic,
  • industrial electrician,
  • power system electrician,
  • construction electrician,
  • solar PV installer

Business

 

In addition to the wide range of technical careers, the electricity and renewables sector includes diverse corporate careers. You could be a leader in a renewable energy start-up, a VP at a major utility corporation, or a project manager at an industry association.

 

Options in business include:

  • human resources,
  • communications,
  • administration,
  • finance,
  • accounting,
  • customer service,
  • purchasing and supply chain,
  • government relations,
  • business development

Information & Communication

 

The electricity sector is on the cutting edge of new technologies, such as microgrids, smart grids, AI and integrating digital systems into legacy infrastructure. Opportunities in IT and communications in the electricity sector include:

  • cybersecurity specialist,
  • information systems analyst or consultant,
  • database analyst or administrator,
  • computer programmer,
  • interactive media developer,
  • software engineer or designer,
  • computer network technician.

How to get started?

 

If you’d like to explore career opportunities in the electricity sector, you may be asking what you can do to work towards securing your first job. A great way to prepare yourself with the skills and information you need for the job market is to participate in work-integrated learning (WIL) placements, mentorship programs, brush up on your professional skills and keep up with industry events.

Work-Integrated Learning

 

Work-integrated learning (WIL) refers to co-op placements, internships, and field placements, amongst a variety of opportunities. WIL programs offer the chance to earn while you learn. Participants get the chance to practice the skills they learned in the classroom, develop professional skills in the workplace, and make connections with employers in the sector. EHRC’s Empowering Futures program provides a wage subsidy to companies creating WIL placements for students. If you’ve already graduated, you may be eligible for a Green Jobs internship, which provides termed placements in the electricity and renewable energy sector for youth under 30.

Wondering where to find these opportunities? If your program has a co-op component, start with your school’s co-op office to see what existing relationships they have with electricity and renewable energy companies. EHRC’s job board is also a great resource; sign up through our link here to find postings from across the country in one easy location

Mentorship Programs

 

Mentorship is a way to gain knowledge and useful career tips from industry professionals. Mentors will not offer you a job, but they can help with the job application process and may be willing to act as a reference. For young workers looking to enter the electricity sector, connecting with an experienced professional can reveal opportunities for personal and professional development. Get started and find your mentor today with EHRC’s Mentor Junction platform!

Professional Skills

 

While technical and specialized knowledge is foundational for career success in electricity, employers are also looking for candidates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in professional skills. Professional skills include active listening, social perceptiveness, and collaboration. Take time to take stock of your professional skills while job searching with EHRC’s resources for developing and applying professional skills.

Industry Events

 

Industry events, such as job fairs, conferences, or webinars are opportunities to familiarize yourself with the career options available in the sector, the expectations employers have for potential hires, as well as a good way to keep up with news in our fast-moving industry! You can find these on company and association websites and social media. For news on events EHRC is attending, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

From time to time, EHRC also hosts youth-oriented events. In fall 2020, we teamed up with the Energy Council of Canada to host a virtual discussion to learn about the many career paths the sector offers. Watch the recorded event to hear from both senior and early-career professionals in a range of energy careers. Watch the recorded event, Jumpstart Your Career in Electricity, here.