Young Pipeliners work to shape the future of the pipeline industry

People need energy for life. And most of us understand that, for the long-term, pipelines will continue to be essential infrastructure for moving that energy to where we need it.

Molly Beckel, President and CEO, Young Pipeliners Association of Canada

Molly Beckel, President and CEO, Young Pipeliners Association of Canada

In an increasingly complex world, Canada’s pipeline industry will need to ensure new and emerging leaders are well prepared to shape a healthy and sustainable future. That’s where the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada (YPAC) comes in.

In this week’s blog post, we talk with Molly Beckel, YPAC’s President and CEO, about the ways her organization is working to shape the future of the pipeline industry.


Molly, before we get into talking about how YPAC makes a difference… what do you want people to know about YPAC?


Our focus is to build the next generation of the pipeline industry’s leaders. We are a cohort of early career professionals with common vision. And we want young people to see how pipeline careers are exciting, innovative, and positively serving society, especially at a time when they may be doubting whether they have a future in this industry. That means a good flow of industry knowledge to young people. It also means creating spaces for dialogue among all parties, with a focus on continuously improving the work environment.

Our mission outlines four focus areas…

  • Ensuring young people in the industry have a network of peers for support,
  • Providing access to personal and professional development opportunities,
  • Building industry knowledge and awareness about issues affecting the industry, and
  • Making an impact by helping to shape the future of the industry, so it can attract and retain talented young professionals.

Issues we think about include…. how can pipelines help to mitigate climate change? How can we actively engage and reconcile with Indigenous peoples? How can we help ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace?  How do we integrate innovation into everything we do?


What are some of the YPAC initiatives that make a difference for the industry?


I can think of three YPAC initiatives that are already making a difference, which will continue to be important.

  1. YPAC X Avatar program is a good example of how nimble and flexible YPAC can be. After COVID hit, we had to adapt our knowledge programs. This initiative took participants through an eight-week virtual learning journey. 54 young emerging leaders worked in cohort groups with senior leaders of industry and government to address specific problems like hydrogen, carbon capture and utilization, digitization, innovative pipeline construction techniques, and energy advocacy. It’s allowed us to test a different way of using technology to expand our connections across Canada.
  2. In spring 2020 the Canadian Standards Association Group (CSA) agreed to collaborate with YPAC to be a part of oil and gas standards development. It took us four years to get to this milestone, which will help YPAC members gain valuable experience and grow their understanding of how CSA standards are developed for the industry. YPAC is recruiting suitable candidates to participate in the collaboration.
  3. And YPAC recently established an Indigenous inclusion committee to look at how YPAC can contribute to reconciliation. So far, we’ve named a committee and are identifying priorities and setting up a structure.


What’s been the impact of COVID on young pipeliners at the beginning of their careers?


Three stories emerged through COVID. First, it’s hard to find a job – especially for young people. Second, many of our members and executives have lost their jobs because of the economic downturn. And third, it’s also become clear that pipelines are essential. People need energy, we need pipelines, and the industry needs its next generation of leaders.

Members of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) are enthusiastic YPAC supporters. We’re encouraged by the work they’re doing to prepare tomorrow’s leaders.

About Pipelines thanks Molly Beckel for participating in this blog.