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There are few bigger career changes than the one Evangeline Cauchi made. Cauchi was working as a red seal pastry chef at a remote worksite in Manitoba when she became friends with Manitoba Hydro employees working there. Hearing about the invigorating world of the trades inspired her to leave her career and go back to school for electrical work.
“Everyone I’d come across made the work sound so rewarding and challenging at the same time. People do have bad days, but everyone just seemed so satisfied with the work regardless,” she recalls.
Today, Cauchi is an operating electrical technician trainee at Manitoba Hydro, and those same friends are also her colleagues. And she’s never once looked back at her former life, finding a deep sense of fulfilment in her new career.
“I really look forward to training more than anything just so I can be a stronger electrician and bring more to the table to help and support my co-workers,” she says. Cauchi, who has worked for Manitoba Hydro for just over two years, is now based out of Gillam and installs and maintains electrical apparatuses and equipment.
Janet Mayor, Manitoba Hydro’s director of human resources, says that employees value the sense of purpose they get from working for a public utility, and the feeling that they can help “make the province a better place to live and work.”
“We see in our employees a true sense of pride in the work that they do and the company they work for,” she says.
Mayor says the company’s strong community spirit also keeps employees engaged. Manitoba Hydro has charitable giving and social and recreation committees, which host events for staff. There are also corporate-driven events like company-wide virtual town-halls — with the utility’s president — to connect employees, keep them informed, and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions of Hydro’s leadership.
“There is a real importance placed on relationships here, and on how we work together and support each other,” she says.
Cauchi has felt this in Gillam, where she has volunteered with her colleagues for the town’s fire department, and on the emergency response crew at the Keewatinohk converter station. She also says it shines through in the way she and her colleagues collaborate. “We work together as one big team, we don’t work alone, and we tackle problems together to find the best solution,” she says.
That closeness has extended, for some employees, well past their working years, Mayor says with a laugh – a large group of Manitoba Hydro retirees now living in Arizona still get together to play baseball and golf and stay connected.
Manitoba Hydro has a wide variety of job opportunities, from field to office, and has long offered training and leadership programs that help employees develop their careers within the organization, something that staff said in a recent employee survey they deeply value and that Mayor says has played a role in the organization’s ultra-low turnover. Mayor says those programs are taking on renewed importance, and the Crown corporation plans to further develop them as it prepares for changes to provincial energy policy and to the energy industry broadly.
“We’re seeing electric cars coming with the move to decarbonization, digitization of our society, and decentralization of power sources, and new skill sets that we have to grow and recruit for,” she says. “The whole landscape for this industry and how we do our work is changing. It’s exciting times for sure, and for new people looking to come to the corporation they see that exciting work and want to be a part of it.”
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Manitoba Hydro