Harnessing the power of future generations

Hydro Ottawa’s efforts on wooing new talent
Hydro Ottawa, The Student Apprentice Program (photo provided)

If your business is anything like Hydro Ottawa’s, you’re experiencing first-hand the monumental shift sparked by the retirement of the baby boomers and the influx of the millennial generation.

At Hydro Ottawa, about a quarter of its almost 700 employees are under the age of 35. At the other end of the spectrum, over 40 per cent of its workforce is set to retire within the next 10 years. 

If your organization requires talented individuals with trades, technical or engineering credentials, you know the demand for talent in Canada is high. What are you doing to stand out as a destination employer and get on the radar of jobseekers?

Hydro Ottawa realized that in order to ensure its readiness for the future, it needed to invest in the next generation. 

In 2015, Hydro Ottawa hired 62 students in its summer and coop programs - growing its workforce by almost nine per cent. While it was a great way to provide opportunities to young workers and cover staff vacations, Hydro Ottawa also took advantage of the opportunity to understand what young people want, in an employer, and a career.


Students are asked for feedback about their experience and are provided with their own collaboration space on the Intranet to connect with one another during their time with the company. 

Since 2012, Hydro Ottawa has run a Student Apprentice Program. This provides students with an opportunity to collaborate in putting forward ideas that could add value to the organization and drive continuous improvement – while providing them with a direct forum to senior executives including President and CEO Bryce Conrad.

“Students bring excitement, passion and a desire to make a difference,” Conrad said. “Every year I look forward to students joining our workforce because we benefit from their innovative ideas, unique perspectives and enthusiasm for a sustainable future.”

Hydro Ottawa has been named one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People three years in a row. Its efforts to engage the next generation of workers also includes partnering with Algonquin College on a two-year Powerline Technician Diploma Program and providing age-appropriate electricity safety and conservation educational materials and sessions for primary school students. 

If your organization is challenged by a retiring workforce and wants to attract new talent, consider how you can make a positive impression that will bring the next generation of workers to your door.