YOU'RE STILL READING! That’s great!

There are some great organizations and programs out there to help introduce you to the various trades (so you can decide which is right for you), provide or direct you to training, and some even work with employers to get you the experience you need, and in some cases, a permanent full-time job.

  • The British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women program allows women to gain hands-on experience in about 20 different trades and prepares them to successfully enter and complete trades/technical training or to seek apprenticeship. If you don’t know what you want to do, this is a great way to narrow down your options and set you on your path, says Megan. Check out the video below to hear what she has to say about the program.
  • The Industry Training Authority’s (ITA) Women in Trades Training (WITT) program provides training, financial assistance and support for eligible women living in British Columbia who are thinking about a career in the skilled trades, but are unemployed or employed and low-skilled. It offers introductory trades training that allows you to experience a variety of trades, helps you get job ready, and works with employers to sponsor women for apprenticeship placement. Check out the video below to hear from women in this program.
  • Edmonton’s Women Building Futures (WBF) is a leader in trades training for women, with extensive experience in recruiting women into the heavy industrial workforce. Its employment placement rate is 90%! The great thing about this program is that you get to try a variety of trades before deciding which one you’d like to pursue further. Check out the video below to learn more about the program and to hear from women in the program.
  • The Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) program at Ontario’s The Centre for Skills Development & Training provides eligible women with the tools and training to launch their career in the residential construction industry. Learn more about the program and hear from students in the video below.
  • Women Unlimited – a program of Nova Scotia’s Women’s Economic Equality Society – helps women to explore, prepare for, obtain and maintain employment in the skilled trades.
  • The Women’s Network PEI supports unemployed and underemployed women to explore, prepare for, obtain and maintain employment in the trades and industrial technology fields. Their Trade HERizons project aims to increase the number of women in non-traditional trades and technology occupations on Prince Edward Island.
  • The Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA) partners with employers, unions, government and training institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador to help secure employment opportunities for women in the skilled trades. It has helped hundreds of women obtain jobs in the trades. Hear stories from women apprentices and learn more about the organization in the video below.
  • Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) helps women in Newfoundland and Labrador get started in the construction trades. WRDC and its Educational Resource Center (ERC) offer a variety of programs and services including career exploration programs for girls and young women and career counselling and employment assistance services for women.

Check out your local construction association, colleges/universities and unions in your area for other programs geared to women.

You could also check out the following organizations:

  • Build Together – a national Canadian Building Trades Union program that promotes, supports and mentors women in the skilled construction trades.
  • J♀urneyman – a national program that promotes, supports and mentors women in the skilled construction trades.

Also check out our Pinterest board, "Women in Construction," for more information and resources.

“It’s amazing to know you are part of something that will last a long time, and that some of the welds you did in that building contribute to its structural integrity. For me, it’s a career that makes me feel empowered.”
Jamie McMillan, Ironworker and founder of the J♀urneyman program

Programs that enable girls to explore the trades

According to a report by BuildForce Canada (formerly the Construction Sector Council), several studies have reported that girls are systematically streamed away from science, technology and trades careers by the very educational pathways intended to expose them to opportunities in these sectors.

A number of programs are responding to this stereotyping by helping girls to expand their thinking and explore careers in the areas of skilled trades.

  • Girls Exploring Trades and Technology (Saskatchewan, Manitoba) introduces girls in grades 6, 7 and 8 to possible future careers while attending a fun and engaging week-long summer camp that demystifies tools and technology, and builds self-awareness and confidence. The girls learn they have options to select occupations according to their own talents, skills and abilities, and are encouraged to think about career options that go beyond the societal norm so they see themselves as a person first, and not a gender. Check out the video below to see the kids in action and learn more about the program.
  • Skills Work! Day Camp – a week-long day program for kids entering grades 7 and 8 – allows students to explore careers in skilled trades through interactive games, industry tours and entrepreneurship programs. There are 20+ camp locations across Ontario, including specialized camps for girls only.
  • The Techsploration program in Nova Scotia empowers young women in grades 9 through 12 to explore careers in science, trades and technology. Through more than 20 participating schools, students have the opportunity to meet role models and partake in interactive presentations and workshops.

  • GUSTO! is a free workshop for high school girls across Newfoundland and Labrador who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in the carpentry and electrical trades.

  • Techsploration: Newfoundland and Labrador providea young women with opportunities to explore trades, technical and technology-related occupations, while creating an awareness about the critical role of work in their lives. It also helps them understand the significance of high school math and science to their future careers.

Also check out our Pinterest board, "Kids/Youth Programs/Summer Camps," for more information and resources.

“Often [girls] don’t have quite enough confidence or self-esteem to think they can do a trade.”
Devin West, coordinator, Girls Exploring Trades and Technology camps

Videos

WIST Women in Carpentry
Women talk about their aspirations once they graduate from the 29-week Women In Skilled Trades: Enhanced General Carpentry program.
Women Building Futures Program
Learn more about the Women Building Futures program.
Women in Skilled Trades Program
Learn more about the Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) program.
Office to Advance Women Apprentices
Hear stories from women apprentices and learn more about the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA).
Girls Exploring Trades and Technology Camps
Learn more about Girls Exploring Trades and Technology camps and watch these young women in action.
Women in Trades Training Program
Hear from women in the Women in Trades Training (WITT) program.