If you’re looking for a career (or second career) that you can count on (no more dead-end jobs), that pays well (no more working three jobs and still having to worry about finances), that offers you a feeling of accomplishment and pride (“I built that!”), then take a chance on the skilled trades. You just might find something you’ll fall in love with! You could even go on to own your own construction business, just like Ani Bogovic and Karma Hunter. Check out their stories.
More and more, women are entering the skilled trades, and thanks to organizations and programs that focus specifically on women, they are succeeding.
– Marcia Smith, "More women in skilled trades is a win-win," The Globe and Mail
Don’t let traditional gender-based views of careers stop you from pursuing your passion
Worldwide, studies have shown that often women will grow up with a strong influencer – such as a teacher, a guidance counsellor, or a parent – who will guide their student or child into “traditional” careers based on gender. You might not have even noticed it happening.
But think about this: why are careers in the construction industry so “untraditional” for women? Women can handle the same power tools and operate the same machinery as men. Many women love to build things and get a lot of satisfaction from working with their hands – just like many men. So why shouldn’t you pursue a career that matches your aptitudes and abilities – one that you can be passionate about – regardless of traditional views?
Research by BuildForce Canada suggests that a main reason why more women don’t enter the skilled trades is because of the lack of information available for getting started. We're here to change that.
The literature reviewed for research on The State of Women in Construction in Canada report showed repeatedly that high school girls see themselves as lacking the intelligence and ability for science, trades and technology careers.
Is a career in the skilled trades right for you?
We’re not going to sugar-coat things – working in the skilled trades is hard work, but if you like a challenge and want a fulfilling career (not just a job), then read on.
To be successful, you need to “pull your own weight” – that means listening, learning, doing – and then you will be respected and treated equally. You need to be motivated, determined and confident, as well as flexible and adaptable. But above all else, you need to have a passion for what you’re doing. If you’ve got that, then there are no limits to what you can do and accomplish!
Moxie Trades designs and markets a full line of construction work wear for women. It all started when founder Marissa McTasney ditched her high heels for work boots as she pursued a new career in construction. And thus “The Pink Work Boot” was born. Check out her story on the Moxietrades.com website. They’ve also got a great logo!
What to do next
Use the Career Finder to explore more than 50 careers in the construction industry. It can help you narrow down your options by specifying criteria such as whether or not you want a career that keeps you close to home, do you prefer to work in cities versus remote areas and things like that, which you may need to consider if you’ve got kids.
Learn more about the great organizations and programs that are geared specifically to help women enter and succeed in the trades. Be sure to check out the videos on this page to hear women in these programs talk about their experiences.
If you’re a woman of Aboriginal descent, be sure to check out the section Opportunities for Indigenous people where you’ll find inspiring videos about other Indigenous women and programs specifically for Indigenous people.
Check out the How to get started section where you can learn more about apprenticeships and training in general.
Also check out our Pinterest board, "Women in Construction," for more information and resources.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.* YOU CAN DO IT!
* quote attributed to Peter Drucker