Description and Background
The Province of New Brunswick will: (a)develop an energy sector workforce development strategy; (b)pilot an energy certificate program; and (c)implement an energy literacy, education and awareness program.
Workforce Development – Development of an energy sector requires a workforce development strategy to provide skilled energy workers.The Department of Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour will work closely with labour, industry, New Brunswick First Nations, economic development agencies, communities and our post-secondary education system to shape a workforce expansion plan for the energy sector. This will include the creation, within the trades, of the necessary flexibility to allow New Brunswick to be competitive in the construction, operation and maintenance of energy projects and the adoption of new technologies.
As clean, renewable and new energy technologies and opportunities develop, New Brunswick will require a significantly expanded energy workforce. There is increasing demand from homeowners and industry for energy efficient retrofits, which creates additional demand for skilled contractors and workers. Finally, energy sector companies are faced with the challenges of an aging workforce.
Because New Brunswick energy-based businesses will require greater workforce development, as demand grows for skilled energy workers, the Province of New Brunswick will work with stakeholders to shape an energy sector workforce development strategy, reflecting the diverse aspects of our energy sector.
Energy Certificate Program – In order to make informed decisions about energy consumption or energy related projects, a fundamental understanding of the complex factors involved is required. There is an ongoing need for business decision makers, professionals and energy workers to have a strong knowledge of energy issues and information. Our post-secondary institutions are uniquely positioned to train and educate those who play a role in a growing energy industry sector or who require better background knowledge of energy issues.
In collaboration with the Department of Energy, industry, labour and other stakeholders, the University of New Brunswick will pilot an Energy Certificate professional development program in 2012.
Energy Literacy – It is critical that New Brunswick residents and businesses have access to information required to make informed energy decisions, or simply to understand the complex landscape of energy prices, efficiency, environmental impacts, regulations, and technical aspects of the energy industry.
The Province of New Brunswick will develop a centralized source of energy information as a knowledge resource for residents. A supporting education and awareness campaign will also be developed with multiple information tracks and delivery channels geared towards students, the public, New Brunswick First Nations and commercial and industrial users. There may also be opportunities to consolidate these plans with a planned national energy literacy initiative in a way that brings further benefits to New Brunswick.
Key Objectives Served by this Action
Low and Stable Energy Prices – Understanding energy will result in better and informed decisions for households and businesses. From vehicle purchases to home heating systems and the design of new buildings, decisions today will have an impact on energy costs well into the future.
Energy Security – Access to a skilled and available energy sector workforce will contribute directly to our province’s energy security and support future energy sector investments.
Environmental Responsibility – Informed residential, commercial and industrial energy users will be able to make energy choices which support energy efficiency and conservation efforts and reduce the environmental impacts associated with energy usage.
Effective Regulation – An important component of energy literacy and education is the role of regulation. Active and informed participation in the regulatory process is essential to effective regulation.