New $2M Program Designed to Draw More Women into the Trades

Source: St. Clair College

Today, women make up only one in 20 people working in Canada’s skilled trades workforce. But that’s likely to change in the coming years considering the many emerging programs designed to draw more women into the trades.

Take, for example, the Women in Red Seal Trades – Advancing the Career Ecosystem program, which includes over $2 million in federal funding – secured through the Government of Canada's Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy – to increase women’s representation in the trades.

If you’re not familiar with the Red Seal Program, it’s designed to help skilled trades professionals secure relevant qualifications at a national level – meaning a journeyperson who receives a Red Seal endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification can practice their trade in any province or territory within Canada.

Ontario Colleges at Heart of New Partnership

As for the new Women in Red Seal Trades – Advancing the Career Ecosystem program, it includes a vast partnership featuring the federal government, Unifor – the largest union in Canada’s private sector – and a collection of Ontario colleges, including Sheridan College, St. Clair College, Fanshawe College, and Durham College.

Of course, those participating in the venture don’t expect money alone to increase women’s representation in the trades. That’s why the group will take three years to identify and spearhead activities specifically designed to help women find trades careers.

Their plan includes discovering ways to support women more effectively while they take college programs in the trades; providing prospective tradeswomen with more networking and even apprenticeship opportunities; and more effectively promoting the benefits of the Red Seal skilled trades.

But that’s not all. Among the group’s primary goals is establishing a Women in Trades Network that provides a community of support for any woman interested in the trades. Through mentorship opportunities and community events, the network will involve participating colleges leveraging their industry contacts to help prospective tradeswomen find careers in new, emerging, and established trades across the province.

Building Momentum Among Women in the Trades

Patti France, President of St. Clair College, sees the Women in Red Seal Trades – Advancing the Career Ecosystem program and associated Women in Trades Network as incredible opportunities to foster further growth of women’s participation in the skilled trades.

“With every passing year during the past decade, we've seen a steady and encouraging – but still small – increase in the number of women entering our skilled trades programs and apprenticeships,” France said.

“We're confident that this new funding, and the involvement of Unifor as a partner, will spur yet more women to explore these personally rewarding and financially lucrative careers.”

You can learn more about the program on the St. Clair College website and by checking back in here on College Trades, where we’ll keep you updated as the program evolves.