Training Skilled Trades Fuels the Future
Training Skilled Trades Fuels the Future
CAMPAIGN: TransCanada Community Investment
Original article appeared on TransCanada's blog.
As one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies, TransCanada has been employing skilled tradespeople for over 60 years to build the pipelines and power generation facilities that deliver the energy North America uses every day. For many years however, a shortage of skilled tradespeople has loomed over Canada and the United States.
Recognizing that a skilled labour shortage will have serious consequences for North America, TransCanada is taking a proactive approach to help address the shortage.
At TransCanada, we recognize that skilled tradespeople are the key component needed to build these projects,” says Tony Palmer, senior vice-president, Stakeholder Relations. “It’s for this reason that we support a number of organizations including Skills Canada, Helmets to Hardhats and the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting, that are focused on training skilled tradespeople.
”According to Shaun Thorson, chief executive officer at Skills/Compétences Canada, a not-for-profit organization that promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth, recruiting new tradespeople can be a challenge.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about what it’s like to work in the trades and technologies,” explains Thorson. “It’s one of the leading causes that prevent students from choosing a trade as a career.”
TransCanada has also supported Skills Canada Alberta as it sought to support Alberta schools looking to enhance their career and technology programs. The TransCanada Equipment Enhancement Grant gives students the opportunity to explore different career paths while in high school – a crucial time for career and post-secondary education decision making.
This year, the grant enabled students from the Calvin Christian School, Fort Saskatchewan High School, Nipisihkopahk Secondary School and Peace River High School to develop the skills needed to work in some of the most in-demand trade and technology occupations.
The grant supports schools that are focused on enhancing career and technology skills programs, and gives students the opportunity to explore different career paths while in high school – a crucial time for career and post-secondary education decision making.
Meanwhile, partnerships with organizations like Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada and Veterans in Piping (VIP) also encourage individuals to consider a career in the trades.“Our partnership with Helmets to Hardhats and Veterans in Piping also are part of a company strategy that supports innovative programs throughout North America that supports military veterans in their transition into a civilian career in the trades,” says Palmer. Helmets to Hardhats Canada helps connect retired and transitioning active-duty Canadian forces members to quality career opportunities thanks to an online application system that connects them with hundreds of building trades locals and employers across Canada.
“Military veterans have so many qualities that lend themselves perfectly to the construction industry,” says retired Brigadier-General and national executive director of Helmets to Hardhats Canada. “They are resilient, resourceful and adapt well to new challenges. They can think on their feet in stressful situations, they know how to work as team players, or better yet, how to lead a team towards completing a task. Veterans are an excellent means of helping Canada meet its needs for skilled workers, and an excellent fit for this industry."
In the United States, TransCanada supports the Veterans in Piping program, developed by the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry in partnership with the U.S. military. The program provides returning veterans welding training and transitional training to help them adjust to civilian life after leaving the forces.
Part of taking a proactive approach to help address the skilled labour shortage has also meant working with local trades unions.
TransCanada and the Energy East team have been working with local trades unions across Canada for nearly two years to provide 40-foot sections of large-diametre steel pipe. We have already donated 24 pipe sections. These deliveries help skilled journeymen acquire training and experience in various pipeline trades such as welding, coating, sandblasting, hoisting and cribbing, and ensure these workers are job-ready when the Energy East project moves forward. Meanwhile, partnerships with organizations like Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada and Veterans in Piping (VIP) also encourage individuals to consider a career in the trades.
“Investing in programs focused on developing skills supporting the construction of North America’s critical energy infrastructure benefits the entire continent,” added Palmer. “TransCanada’s work depends on the experience of thousands of tradesmen and women to develop this much-needed energy infrastructure which will also bring thousands of jobs to communities across the North America.”