Project unveiled to diversify Alberta’s energy workforce

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Energy stakeholders in Canada have unveiled a project to develop a more inclusive and scalable labor force for Alberta’s electricity needs.

Electricity Human Resources Canada, the Alberta Electric System Operator, TransAlta, Women in Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Labour and education partners have launched the Support Equity and Under-Represented Groups project.

The project will address the under-representation of key groups in Alberta’s electricity workforce and develop a strategy for inclusivity in sector workplaces.

The 18-month project will invest over $220,000 into research, consultation, resource development, education planning, and employer support.

Whilst the demand for energy workforce is growing in the province, many groups are underrepresented.

For instance, the region’s renewable energy market continues to grow whilst it had 13,000 workers in 2018, according to EHRC’s Labor Market Intelligence for Alberta’s Energy Sector—Workforce Transitions 2018 report.

Women make up just 30% of Alberta’s electricity labor force compared to 46% as the average across all other industries, Indigenous people only make up 3-8% of the Canadian workforce despite being the fastest growing population in Canada, and Canadians with disabilities make up only 1-2% of the national workforce.

The project will provide recommendations for employers to attract, retain, and provide a supportive workplace environment for the youths, women and migrant and local workers.

To date, workers under the age of 25 only account for 5% of the energy industry in Alberta, compared to 14% for all industries across the province.

Jason Copping, Minister of Labor and Immigration, said: “As Alberta works to improve the provincial economy and create jobs, we also need to focus on maintaining a highly skilled workforce to meet current and future demands of the energy industry. Our workforce is changing and it’s important to provide opportunities for Albertans of all backgrounds to contribute and succeed.”