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Monday, September 16, 2019
Woman fixing kitchen sink
Woman fixing kitchen sink
DiversityTips & Training

Programs and resources to support women in the trades

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Despite increases in women’s participation in male-dominated occupations, they continue to be underrepresented in the trades. Stereotypes on the behalf of employers and students contribute to this, as well as a lack of awareness about available opportunities. However, increasing gender diversity in the skilled trades is crucial to tackling skills shortages.

There are many programs and resources directed toward increasing women’s participation in the trades. This article captures some of those that are available in Canada.

BC Centre for Women in the Trades (BCCWITT)

BCCWITT is working to eliminate the barriers faced by women in the trades by building a network committed to creating a culture of equality and equal opportunity. A two-year pilot project, the BCCWITT aims to increase the retention and advancement of women in the trades through targeted supports and programs.

Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC)

CAWIC’s mandate is to facilitate the long-term success of women in Canada’s construction-related fields such as general contracting, trades, building products, architecture, engineering, interior design and professional services. To accomplish this, CAWIC is in process of developing and implementing a variety of programs and services for women in construction-related fields.

Canadian Construction Women (CCW)

CCW provide members with opportunities for support, mentoring, networking, community involvement, learning and development in order to see that a career in the building industry offers a world of opportunity.

Careers in Construction – Opportunities for Women

This page on the Careers in Construction website shares resources, videos and information about getting started in the trades. Careers in Construction has also curated a Pinterest page with hundreds of resources for women in construction.

emPOWER: Women in Trades – Manpower Alberta

This government-funded training program, which is based in Calgary, works to support unemployed or marginally employed women with an interest in entering the trades sector. This program provides skills training and support to begin a career and to secure entry-level employment in the trades industry.

Horticulture Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program for Women ­– Skills for Change

This Humber College program prepares women who have a keen interest in the skilled trades for employment in the landscape sector, such as landscape construction, grounds and golf course maintenance, parks operations and gardens care. The program provides both academic and practical training to assist with obtaining employment.

ITA Women in Trades Training initiative – Industry Training Authority

Stories from successful female apprenticeships, enrolment information, examination details and more.

Manitoba Women in Construction

A group of women working within Manitoba’s construction industry who share a common goal of supporting, educating and mentoring women in construction. This organization strives to provide a voice for women in the construction industry today and in the future.

New Boots: Progressing Women in Trades

New Boots is a New Brunswick-based network and resource hub that aims to promote, support and mentor women in non-traditional skilled trades, such as construction, maintenance, automotive, truck and transport.

Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA)

This Newfoundland-based organization works with female apprentices once they complete their in-school training to assist them in finding employment opportunities with the ultimate goal of achieving journeyperson status. OAWA has established partnerships with employers, unions, government and training institutions in helping to accomplish these goals.

Pride and a Paycheck

Pride and a Paycheck is a free e-magazine reaching out to tradeswomen, friends, organizations and supporters. Most of the articles, poetry and workpieces are written by tradeswomen.

Trades Discovery for Women – BCIT

The Trades Discovery program is designed to allow participants extensive access to the available trades and technical training at BCIT campuses. These highly practical and relevant training programs prepare participants to successfully enter and complete trades/technical training or seek apprenticeship.

Trade HERizons – Women’s Network PEI

Trade HERizons is a career-exploration and college-preparation program in PEI with a focus on exposure to trades and technology careers, enhancing essential skills, career exploration and personal development. Participants will enhance life skills and focus on labour market research, resumes, interviews, math and team-building.

Women Building Futures (WBF)

This Edmonton-based organization prepares women for careers leading to economic prosperity through awareness, training and opportunities. Its areas of expertise include: workforce attraction, assessment and essential-skills training, workforce training, workforce coaching, job search training and job retention support.

Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC)

WRDC is helping women throughout Newfoundland and Labrador prepare for and achieve meaningful, positive, long-term careers in trades and technology.

Women in Skilled Trades and Information Technology Training – Government of Ontario

This program provides training for women in communities where skilled trades and IT workers are needed. It offers gender-sensitive in-class and on-the-job training to women with low incomes who are unemployed or underemployed and helps them prepare for jobs.

Women in the Trades – Ontario College of Trades

This page offers information on getting started in the trades, myths about working in the trades, bursary and scholarship information, and more.

Women in Trades Training (WITT) – Okanagan College

WITT is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement to help increase the number of female apprentices in the Province of BC.

Women Unlimited Association

The Women Unlimited Association is a not-for-profit women’s organization in Nova Scotia that promotes the full participation of women in trades and technology. It works with industry, governments, educational institutions and the community to address the systemic barriers that limit the participation of diverse women in these fields.

Young Women’s Initiatives – Skills Ontario

A collection of engaging and hands-on events and programs that provide skills development and mentorship opportunities to young women in Grades 7 to 12. Skills Ontario hosts Career Exploration Events across Ontario from October to April, and Canada’s largest young women’s conference at the Skills Ontario Competition each year.


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Lindsay Purchase Administrator
Lindsay Purchase oversees CERIC’s tri-annual magazine, Careering, and the CareerWise website, along with the CareerWise Weekly newsletter. She has a background in journalism, having worked previously as a digital editor and reporter. Lindsay is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Global Studies program.
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Lindsay Purchase Administrator
Lindsay Purchase oversees CERIC’s tri-annual magazine, Careering, and the CareerWise website, along with the CareerWise Weekly newsletter. She has a background in journalism, having worked previously as a digital editor and reporter. Lindsay is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Global Studies program.
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