PREPARING EDMONTON’S DIVERSE, HIGH QUALITY SOLAR ENERGY WORKFORCECategory: 2018, Climate, Current, EcoCity Edmonton, Grant
Edmonton’s Energy Transition Strategy indicates that the solar industry will need to prepare now for the demand that is expected as solar energy becomes more cost competitive and adoption of this technology increases.
Building the future workforce to support solar energy infrastructure is an important part of building Edmonton’s capacity to reduce emissions. Solar energy is a relatively new industry in Alberta; it requires training and preparation of Albertans to fill the required positions with the skills and safety mindset that industry expects. We have an opportunity to build, from the ground up, a solar energy workforce that reflects the diversity of the community it serves and create an inclusive culture from the beginning.
Women Building Futures (WBF) attracts women into careers in construction and maintenance where they are under-represented and prepares them through readiness building and training to successfully enter into employment and complete apprenticeships, where applicable. They attract both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women who are often unemployed or underemployed and are looking for a skillset that will be in demand well into the future and lead to a career that provides economic security and prosperity.
This project involves the delivery of the WBF Electrical and Solar Panel Basics Training, a five-week classroom and skills development program designed to help women prepare for and succeed as an entry-level electrician in the construction industry with a special interest in solar panel installation. WBF will educate women on opportunities in the electrical and solar energy industry and assess those that apply to the program to ensure their readiness. Training will be delivered to 12 women at WBF’s Training Centre and at Gridworks Energy in Edmonton. The focus of the program is to provide participants with essential safety awareness and certification, Best Practices for working in construction, exposure to technical skills and hands-on participation in workshops. Upon successful completion of this program, referral and employment support is offered based on opportunity and the performance of the student to ensure a strong return on investment for the employer, the graduate and WBF.