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Karan Patel started at Manitoba Hydro through a co-op work program and is now an intelligent automations developer.Supplied

When Karan Patel immigrated to Canada in 2019, he began working on a college diploma and felt lucky to do his industry co-op at Manitoba Hydro. After graduation, Patel saw a posting at the corporation for a digital and technology career development program. “As a new graduate, this was perfect for me,” says Patel, now an intelligent automations developer.

He applied for the program while waiting for his work permit, which was delayed by the immigration backlog during the pandemic. “I interviewed and was offered the position,” he says. “I asked if they would wait for me until my permit came in, and they did I started in the program two months later.”

With its head office in Winnipeg and operations throughout the province, Manitoba Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation and one of the largest integrated electricity and natural gas distribution utilities in Canada.

“Manitoba Hydro has a well-rounded approach to developing young people,” says Lisa Leochko, talent acquisition and diversity, equity and inclusion manager. “We hire over 200 postsecondary students every summer. We also offer a range of opportunities upon graduation. These include opportunities in careers across the province, from trades trainee positions to professional areas such as accounting, digital and technology, engineering – the list goes on and on.”

The corporation finds ways to connect with young people at career days and presentations starting in high school. “We let them know the prerequisites they need for the careers they’re interested in,” Leochko says. “We also connect with students and job seekers through information sessions, trades hands-on days, and by supporting Take Our Kids to Work Day, a national event for students in Grade 9.”

Manitoba Hydro provides $100,000 per year in scholarships, bursaries and high school awards in categories determined by both need and performance, for students in programs that could lead to jobs at the corporation.

Patel’s career path demonstrates the breadth of opportunities available. His education was in business and technology and his co-op program was geared toward learning to be a business analyst. Patel started his trainee program on a business rotation and moved on to a developer rotation after six months. He found he enjoyed and excelled at the developer work.

“I thought I would end up on the business side of things and I wouldn’t have known I’d excel in technology except for the co-op work and rotational opportunities in the trainee program,” he says.

“I’ve been a member of four teams so far at Manitoba Hydro,” Patel says. He feels that his work with other teams is an asset to his position. He works closely with a team he rotated through in training and finds it easy to collaborate.

Patel says he enjoys the camaraderie and some of the benefits of being at the corporation. When he was learning new skills, he could just walk around the wall of his cubicle to find help with a problem from a colleague. He enjoys office get-togethers, from barbecues in the summer to meeting some of his trainee group for lunch in the head office building’s atrium.

“It’s a great time to be a young person working at Hydro,” Leochko says. “A growing segment of our work force is under 30. These employees bring an energy to the workplace, are excited to take on new projects, question how we do things and offer new perspectives.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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