Renewing Futures is a major research program that connects players in the renewable energy sector
Environmental and economic trends are broadening interest in renewable energy, but a growing industry depends upon a skilled workforce. This growth raises several questions, such as what its workforce should look like? What skills will they need? How can employers effectively recruit, retain and deploy workers, and where are they needed?
To answer these and many other questions, stakeholders need information. And to act upon this information, they need a plan of action, which requires conversation and collaboration.
To that end, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) made Renewing Futures for anyone with a stake in the renewable energy workforce. The goal was to develop the first comprehensive look at human resources in the renewable energy sector in Canada.
Now: Renewing Futures is two things. Firstly, it’s a major research program that connects players in the renewable energy sector. Secondly, it’s an online hub for Canada’s renewable energy sector that provides reliable data about HR issues affecting the sector.
Renewing Futures is the product of collaboration between EHRC, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and other industry stakeholders. This two-year research project included over 400 representatives from wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, marine/tidal, small and large hydro, as well as, transmission, storage and distribution industries.
EHRC interviewed key personnel and conducted site-visits. In addition, it consulted businesses and employees in a variety of sectors, as well as institutions and governments. The result were two research reports: one dedicated to HR strategies and another dedicated to technological growth.
A summary of research activities:
- A global review of research sources covering government policy, human resources management and labour market analysis for renewable energy activity,
- A technology review that created a profile of the seven technologies that will be deployed and provincial energy market assessments that project additions to RE capacity from 2011 to 2022,
- Input from over 400 stakeholders from interviews, focus groups, regional engagement sessions and an employer survey, and
- A renewable energy labour market information system that includes measures of supply and demand, market balances for eighteen key occupations and an inventory of post-secondary programs that train new renewable energy employees.
EHRC learned that
- The skills and training employers in each renewable energy industry need
- How to attract more people to work in the industry;
- Challenges and opportunities presented by regulation
- Where to coordinate HR efforts for maximum impact;
- Industry challenges with labour markets and skills
- Trends and technologies affecting the industry
Renewing Futures Reports
The Renewing Futures Final Report covers training programs, regulations and government policies, certification, interprovincial mobility, retirements, retention and sector specific specializations.
The Renewing Futures Technology Report identifies future growth and describes the most likely technologies to be installed across sectors in each province.