Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Feb 14, 2020

Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

We are in an Age of Disruption. Extant and emerging technologies are driving significant evolution in the way work is done across all sectors of Canada’s economy and no industry, including electricity, will be immune.

Think of the technologies and businesses that have changed the way we live, work and connect with each other. Uber. Airbnb. Spotify. Facebook. Twitter. Duolingo. The list is long and what’s fascinating is that these are companies that did not exist 20 years ago. Yet these are common words in our lexicon today. For those of us who still miss Blockbuster (okay, guilty), it has been a sometimes jarring experience to see long established giants go by the wayside due to their failure to innovate.

In the electricity sector smart grids, cyber security, privacy concerns, automation, carbon capture and storage, and the electrification of transportation are just a few drivers and technologies that are reshaping the industry’s landscape and moving the goalposts for workforce development at the same time.

While automation and artificial intelligence (AI) may eliminate very few occupations completely in the next decade, it will affect portions of almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the type of work they entail and the variability of tasks.

Anticipating the impacts of these changes is not always easy, be it as an employer, an educator or a policy maker. But it is vital that employers — and employees — are aware of how these changes will affect the demand for workers in the sector, how jobs will be impacted and the skills profiles and training requirements of future workers in the sector. We know from our research that the electricity sector of tomorrow will require workers with strong digital and data analysis skills. Yet according to EHRC’s latest report, [IT]Work Transformed[IT], most workers in the sector have only slightly or somewhat developed digital skills. Whether their jobs will be displaced or transformed by technology, workers will require some new training or upskilling to adapt to new requirements. Although many people are concerned that jobs will disappear as a result of automation and AI (and in some cases they will), the reality is that some innovations will create entirely new jobs that did not exist before.

Both employers and employees have a role in ensuring workers have the skills need to succeed. Organizations need to be prepared to adapt the change, and that means asking questions about organizational structure, competition and their willingness to innovate. Nobody wants to be the next Kodak.

Are you ready? Here are some of the question you need to ask yourself:

  • What are the technological changes that will affect my sector?
  • What will be the effect of these changes? 
  • How will new technologies change labour demand? Will I be able to access the workforce I need? Do I need to invest in training for my current workforce? What are their specific skills and how will they need to evolve? How do I compete for top talent?
  • When are these changes expected to occur? 
  • What is my skill set? Will I be impacted in my role as a result of new tech brought into the company? Am I ready to upskill or retrain?

While there is still much debate in this industry as to how quickly the sector will evolve, I would position that the time to act is now. Waiting to see how things will “play out” is not an option. As Geoffrey Chaucer so sagely wrote, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Let’s add technology to that list.

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.


       Partnering For The Next Step                                                                     

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

This virtual summit will be an interactive digital event featuring first-hand experiences and success stories achieved with industrial digitalization and automation solutions, and cutting-edge technologies.

Join us on July 16 and learn from customers and experts how you can respond efficiently, flexibly and safely to the changing market environment.

To cover as many different time zones as possible, we offer two almost identical live sessions – you can also watch them on demand at your convenience:

Sessions runs from :  9:30 am to 2:15 pm ET (3:30 pm to 8:15 pm CEST)


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Changing Scene

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WestburneMany contractors prefer to deal with the people that they know, in their local branch. When doing a job out of town, it’s often inconvenient or simply impossible to return to your home branch to pick up material orders for the next day, within standard business hours.

Westburne’s new locker solution extends the branch’s pick up times to 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 

 

 


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EmployeesBy Terry Becker

All electrical incidents are preventable! Keep employees safe with an up-to-date electrical safety program and complimentary training.

“Employees don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect!” This is a great quote when it comes down to occupational health and safety. The need for ensuring that an audit is a key component of your overall occupational health and safety management system and your company’s electrical safety program is essential.

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Product News

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Brady Pull-Handle Butterfly Valve LockoutThe Pull-handle Butterfly Valve Lockout. Its simple, fold-over design effectively lockspull handles in any desired position. And, it holds up to four padlocks for added safety. No matter what industry you’re in, this versatile, one-piece lockout device bolsters your safety lockout solution. And that’s a welcome addition to any lockout program. With this device you’ll also get:

  • A great fit – exclusive, anti-pivot lockout device that fits a variety of pull handle butterfly valve sizes

 

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Shannon TymoskoBy Blake Marchand

Shannon Tymosko is a first-year apprentice with IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 105, something she undertook after 10 years working her way up the ranks of a payday loan company.

“One of the things I love, working in the trades, is you can see your progress and you can see at the end of the day the work that you have done.

 

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