Hydro Ottawa director reveals electricity behind new talent drive

It's not all utility poles and transformers that Hydro Ottawa has to offer

Hydro Ottawa director reveals electricity behind new talent drive

A symbol in the business of electricity, Hydro Ottawa’s employees can be identified through their distinctive orange and blue work clothes.

But it’s not all utility poles and transformers that Hydro Ottawa has to offer – as we found out from their director of organizational development, Cindy Newell.

Last year, Hydro Ottawa won one of the prestigious Canadian HR awards for the best next generation employment innovation – we caught up with Newell to see how the company has grown since then.

“The essence of our win, which we were so excited about, is that we truly believe in investing in our future,” explained Newell. “As a utility, we are experiencing a demographic shift in our workforce.

“At the moment, 35% of our workforce is eligible to retire in the next 10 years – and what’s of significance is the number of trades and technical staff that includes.”

Newell told us that this shift in workplace demographics led Hydro Ottawa to investing more time and money in the next generation, through the modus of apprenticeships.

“We set out on a journey to work with our partner Algonquin College to file an application with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, to be granted the ability to train and certify powerline maintainers at each level of their apprenticeship,” she told HRD Canada.

“We’re essentially training the next generation of powerline maintainers for Eastern Ontario. When we won the award, we were in the initial stages of development, and now we’re growing stronger than ever.”

It’s an exciting time to be growing our apprenticeship programs, as more and more youth are interested in careers in the trades.

“Our workforce is getting younger, for sure,” added Newell. “Currently, employees ages 35 and under represent thirty-three per cent of our workforce – and this number has doubled since 2007.

“Employees who enjoyed a long and stable career are now retiring, and our investments in apprenticeships are paying off. We began investing in apprenticeships in 2005, in anticipation of the pending retirements and since then, we’ve seen 82 apprentices attain their journeyperson status.”

Newell was quick to remind us that younger employees are increasingly drawn to organizations like Hydro Ottawa for a range of jobs – our trades and technical positions, of course, but also everything from IT to finance to legal and HR.

“At Hydro Ottawa, we have many opportunities for rewarding careers, in fields that some don’t necessarily associate with a utility – there are openings for all types of prospective candidates.”

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD Canada.

Recent articles & video

HRD launches game-changing website redesign

More employers offer flexible benefits with HCSA

Is your workplace culture toxic?

The biggest barrier to Canada's digital transformation

Most Read Articles

Another termination clause bites the dust in superior court

What does an exceptional leader look like?

Why creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is crucial