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Job change?


Retired Expediter
The U.S. Hydro industry is probably in the same shape...

Laid off at GM? Hydro's hiring

25,000 engineers and skilled tradespeople needed in next six years

Tyler Hamilton
Energy Reporter

Ontario's auto sector may be shedding jobs by the thousands, but the country's big power utilities can't hire skilled workers fast enough.

Canada's electricity sector needs to hire 25,000 engineers and skilled trades people within the next six years to keep the country's power system safely and reliably humming, according to a report released yesterday by the Electricity Sector Council.

"They're starting to go out the door faster than we're bringing them in," said Catherine Cottingham, executive director of the government-funded organization that monitors human-resource trends in the sector. "The mid-level roles will feel the biggest crunch."

About 1,300 positions will need to be filled every year for the next three years, after which the numbers rise dramatically. Within the next four years alone 29 per cent of the workforce is expected to retire.

It's a demographic trend hitting every industry but the electricity sector is particularly vulnerable because of the specialized nature of the work, especially jobs in the nuclear and transmission sides of the business. The report said the rate of retirement of transmission system workers is expected to jump more than sevenfold next year and ninefold by 2012.

"You can't just hire a person on Friday and put them on the job on Monday," said David O'Brien, president of Toronto Hydro Corp. "It takes about four years for us to train a new recruit, so you can put them up on a (hydro) pole to work alone without killing themselves."

Toronto Hydro, where the average worker is 49, has asked the province's electricity regulator for a rate hike that would allow the company to accelerate recruitment and training.

Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa, in a speech earlier this year, said "We are grappling with one of the single greatest human resource challenges our industry has ever confronted," as the transmission system giant expects 30 per cent of its workforce to retire within the next few years.

Ontario Power Generation, which operates nuclear, hydroelectric, and fossil fuel power plants, sees 25 per cent of its workforce needing replacement by 2012.

All this, while Toronto Hydro will lose about a third of its 1,600 workers in five years.

The council said the industry must to do a better job promoting itself as a career path at a time when enrolment in electrical engineering programs is falling and competition for skills from other industries is rising. This is includes working more closely with post-secondary institutions to develop programs relevant to the sector.

An emphasis on recruiting foreign-trained workers and underemployed groups, such as women and visible minorities, would also help alleviate the crunch, it said.

Linda McRae, OPG vice-president of corporate human resources, said the industry needs to look more closely at how workers from other struggling sectors, such as automotive, can move to the power sector.

"It makes perfect sense," she said, "though it doesn't mean you can pull someone from GM and have them working for OPG tomorrow."

But O'Brien said the potential is there. "It's what we should all be sitting down and talking about. Is there a strategy that can get these industries working together?"


Veteran Expediter
I think as most of us trvel, we see the fact that there are jobs available, an money being spent daily (big money on construction, ect,) and if people want to work, the jobs are there. Yea, they might have to make changes in their lives, might not be a comfortable in the lap of the "box" they live in (**** they might have to move!) but there are jobs out there that will pay people good money.


Veteran Expediter
I guess you think that wanting to keep your family intact, in the home they're used to, with extended family, good schools, familiar neighbors, trusted doctor & childcare nearby, etc, makes the guy who wants to stay put a whiner, eh?
Jobs are crucial - but so is the family structure, and parenting. One shouldn't have to choose between the two, IMO.
How much good is there in uprooting the family, if the family ends up imploding from the stress? (Particularly if the process has to be repeated in a year or so.)
Not everyone is as adaptable to change as we are, you know. ;)
I like the idea of retraining folks to take the jobs that are available locally - sounds like a win/win scenario to me.


Seasoned Expediter
I am a pilot for Delta on the weekends. I am about to complete my online course for orthopedic surgery soon. Ya just have to be flexible.


Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
I worked at POWER PLANTS all around the country and VERY few were around the comfort city life!! I watched our tractor trailers leave job sites, and I went that direction!! BYE BYE BOONDOCKS --HAMMER-DOWN back to the CITY-coast!! Feedwater Systems VA!!


Veteran Expediter
Reading Hxpedx's posts makes me feel like I've had brain surgery with a butter knife..... ;)


Veteran Expediter
I worked at POWER PLANTS all around the country and VERY few were around the comfort city life!! I watched our tractor trailers leave job sites, and I went that direction!! BYE BYE BOONDOCKS --HAMMER-DOWN back to the CITY-coast!! Feedwater Systems VA!!

Did you ever work at Davis Besse in Ohio?? That might explain a lot!


Veteran Expediter
Hydro One and tornonto hydro need to replace workers. Well nice but one problem is you need a college education just to become a broom pusher there. Used to be just a grade 12 education but they did raise the standards years back.

Most of the job training must be done by hydro as they have the skills and equipment and there are no colleges or other training facilities to get the training needed to do a lot of the jobs. Why do you need a college education?? Don't tell me a lineman needs one. How many ads do they have in the papers?? . That few... well you're not going to get applicants if you set the standards too high for normal people who would gladly work for the $24-28/hr hydro pays and the benefits package and also don't advertise.

They could fill their hiring requirements in one year by going to high schools and making presentation of the jobs available and the minimum requirements to get in thereby setting up young people to go there to work.

Any ads I've seen lately want 3 years experince in the fields or immediately related. Great steal people from other commpanies also suffering from lack of techies available. No we don't need more immigrants to fill the jobs. Just take people and train them! Lots are available!