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SMART | city Manitoba Hydro gives young

workers the power Change and growth the keys to Hydro’s success

Photos supplied by Manitoba Hydro.

notes the aging workforce as a reason why there is so much opportunity for young people at Manitoba’s pro- vider of electric power and natural gas utilities. “We’re not necessarily growing our workforce, as


we’re trying to be cost conscious, but at the same time we’re always hiring,” said Kim. “Tat’s partly due to the fact that we have a very aging workforce, with over 900 people that could retire today. Tat means opportunities for young people to come in, because we can’t lose that knowledge transfer. Te co-op and summer programs allow us to build up employees and let them ease into the role.” Te 18 to 35 demographic makes up 27% of the work-

force at Hydro, and that promises to increase as the baby boomers leave the workforce. Hydro’s summer student employment program is

open to anybody, as long as they’re going back to school. “If they’re in high school they need to be over the age

of 16, as well as it being open to post secondary students as well,” said Kim. “You can be in the program for three years, then there would be the possibility of bringing the student on in a full-time or term position.” Students have to apply through STEP services, and

select different categories within Hydro that they might be interested in based on their career path “First year students generally go into general labour or

administrative work, and once their schooling becomes more focused they can focus where they’d like to work too,” said Kim. “We have post-secondary programs for our profes-

sional programs. We have engineer in training, com- merce, IT, which we develop. We also have the co-op program for our Red River College students and work experiences as well, which blends in with our summer student program. We have relationships with all the major post-secondary institutions in the province, in- cluding the University College of the North.” Growing and rebuilding throughout Manitoba

6 Smart Biz “One of our challenges is we have a very high northern

workforce that we’d like to maintain,” said Kim. “Some people up in the north want to stay at or near home, so those opportunities allow for them to train and work in the north. We have over a thousand employees working in Manitoba’s north.” Scott Powell is the manager of public affairs of public

affairs with Hydro. He notes the level of growth and change around the company and province that hasn’t been seen in decades. “We are in one of the most exciting times ever for Manitoba Hydro,” said Scott. “Not only do we have new

hen looking at how the workforce of Manitoba Hydro is evolving with time, Recruitment and diversity development manager Kim Lanyon

projects that we are building, with Keeyask and Bi- pole-3, allowing us to expand our systems and improve our reliability. We’re also in the midst of the greatest reinvestment into our existing assets that we have ever gone through. We’re rebuilding substations that are 50 to 60 years old. Tis allows us to reconsolidate our exist- ing system and grow with the population. We haven’t seen this level of work since the 1960s with rural farm electrification.” So what’s the best part about working for Hydro? “Our culture and the opportunities that present

themselves,” said Kim. “Tere are many opportunities for change, and with change comes growth and new opportunities. People might not want to stay in the same job for 25 years, and you can change jobs while staying in the same company.” “To keep those lights on keeps such a wide variety

of skills and jobs,” said Scott. “Te breadth of jobs available and the amount of people on the verge of retirement means that there will be a wide range of opportunities in various quantities right across all the skill sets for the next number of years.” Climbing the poles

Hydro is currently hiring for power line technicians,

with 56 spots to be had for the four-year apprenticeship program. Tere’s a lengthy process to get in, with edu- cational requirements including Math 40S and Physics 30S. Ten there’s mechanical aptitude and hands on tests, including the ability to climb poles and aren’t afraid of heights. Being willing to work outside and anywhere in the province is also crucial, as you never know where power lines will need to be installed or repaired. “When you’re putting the amount of resources and

training into the program as Hydro does, you want to make sure that that’s what those people really want to do and they want to do it,” said Scott. “From what I’ve seen, we’ve got a first-class group of individuals.” To find out more about becoming a Power Line

Technician, visit training_programs/power_line_technician.shtml

December 2015

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