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News   February 26, 2020   by Allan Janssen

Feds to fund new women-in-skills program

The federal government of Canada says it is taking steps to encourage young Canadians to explore careers in the trades.

Labour Minister Filomena Tassi, and Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough have launched a project designed to attract female high school students to careers in the skilled trades.

The “Build a Dream’s Career Exploration Expansion Project will give approximately 5,000 girls across Canada a chance to pursue careers in the skilled trades through career exploration, skills training and work experience.

The project will receive $728,000 through the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program.

As part of the two-year project, high school-age women will benefit from career expos and exploratory workshops where they can “try a trade” and have access to an online resource where they can connect with professional skilled tradeswomen and learn about supports that will help them start careers in well-paying skilled trades.

“The new Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program will help equip young Canadian women facing barriers to employment with the foundational skills, knowledge and experience they need to get training and start well-paying careers in the skilled trades,” said Qualtrough. “By creating a skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce, our government is strengthening the middle class and creating a more prosperous country.”

According to the Government of Canada, skilled trades are a key component of the national economy, employing more than 3 million Canadians in well-paying jobs (2018 Labour Force Survey).

Employers, provinces and territories, learning institutions, unions, community organizations and individuals all have key roles to play in Canada’s continued success in building a skilled, mobile and certified workforce that supports Canada’s labour market.

The demand for tradespeople is expected to remain strong. Between 2019 to 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire (Canadian Occupational Projection System, 2019 Projections).

Women face barriers to entering the trades, largely due to a lack of mentors, difficulty finding an employer, discrimination and family obligations. Only 9% of Red Seal apprentices are women (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).

The average age of starting an apprenticeship is 29 years old (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).

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