Investing in tomorrow’s talent

Hydro Ottawa harnesses the energy of youth
Hydro Ottawa Budget Officer, Ahsan Rai
Hydro Ottawa Budget Officer, Ahsan Rai

Hydro Ottawa has made the list of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People three years running. Why? Because it recognizes the need to invest in a new generation of talent.

This investment spans the entire educational journey, beginning with in-school programming for elementary students about electrical safety, conservation and careers. Hydro Ottawa also offers programs and internship opportunities for students at the secondary and post-secondary level. Most notable is the company’s partnership with Algonquin College in the delivery of a two-year Powerline Technician diploma program.

The learning continues when these students go on to become a Hydro Ottawa employee. Whether they’re working in one of five trades apprentice programs or contributing to the company as a summer or co-op student, all young workers at Hydro Ottawa know that their professional development matters and that they can make a difference early in their careers. Youth involvement matters so much that the President and Chief Executive Officer personally chairs a Youth Council.

Investing in people

It’s this kind of engagement that brought Budget Officer Ahsan Rai to Hydro Ottawa.

He first worked for the company as a summer student, where he was given the opportunity to make the most of his education in the internal audit and risk management function. Rai then took a full-time position after graduation in 2010. 

“The organization takes great interest in its employees,” he said. “Regardless of your educational background – whether it’s engineering, trades, IT, accounting and finance, marketing or human resources – Hydro Ottawa is a place where you can truly build a career.”

Sasha McCulloch has been working for Hydro Ottawa for a year and had previously completed a 16-month co-op with the utility as part of her university studies. She is now completing Hydro Ottawa’s Engineering Intern Training and Development Program, which will help her obtain a Professional Engineer designation.

“I decided to work for Hydro Ottawa because of the support you receive during your transition from university to the working world,” she said. “From day one, Hydro Ottawa has been committed to helping me grow professionally.”

“Hydro Ottawa also stands out as an employer because giving back to the community is such a vital part of its culture,” McCulloch added.

How can your organization tap into the next gen?

To date, 16 per cent of Hydro Ottawa’s total workforce is under 30. During a recent survey, eighty-five per cent of students who had worked for the utility said they would return if given the opportunity. 

The labour market is undergoing its greatest demographic shift since the Second World War. What steps is your organization taking to ensure it has the talent it needs to prosper in this new reality?