Calling all women to the skilled trades! This is your moment. Women are (finally) moving into construction trades men have dominated since forever—and proving that gender has no impact on their ability to compete.
And with so many jobs up for grabs (Canada is currently short thousands of skilled trades workers), this is the perfect time for women to get on board.
So why aren’t there even more women signing up for pre-apprenticeship training, and taking advantage of these opportunities?
What’s holding some women back, while others are pushing past the stereotypes, and taking trades schools by storm?
These are the questions we set out to answer this week. To start, we spoke with the lovely Christine Azevedo—Associate Director of Career Services at the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute.
Christine works very closely with PAT students, encouraging them during training, and helping them transition into employment after school.
And, of course, we also spoke with real women pre-apprenticeship students at PAT. We found out what motivated them to pursue trades training, and what they think stops other women from doing the same.
Here’s what we found out.
Christine, in your experience with students, what’s the main reason women avoid the skilled trades?
From my own experience, and based on the female students I talk to, there is this fear that women won’t have the physical strength needed to succeed in the skilled trades.
What’s interesting, is that once students begin training, they quickly lose that fear. They realize they can do everything their male classmates can do—just sometimes in different ways.
The physical approach might be a little different, but they’re getting the same results.
Also, many women simply aren’t aware of the opportunities and possibilities that come from being in the trades. We need more exposure on this issue.
We need to encourage more women to pursue trades careers, and let them know it’s no longer just “a man’s world”.
What inspires women to go for it, and enrol in trades training?
Angela, Christina, and Sophie are excellent examples of women who decided to break the mold, and enrol in trades training this year.
All students in PAT’s Combined Plumber & Gas Tech Program, these 3 women began training to change their lives and start doing what they truly love.
Angela left her position as a social worker to pursue her passion of getting into a trade—and to be an example for other women with the same dream.
Christina was also looking for a career change, and had a natural talent for working with her hands and fixing things. While researching her options, she noticed tons of government grants and incentives available to assist women in trades. Her path became clear.
It was a similar story for Sophie, who realized her talent for hands-on work was a perfect fit for the skilled trades. She enrolled in PAT, and never looked back.
Christine, what advice do you give women who are considering a skilled trade?
Most important is to not let fear hold you back from pursuing a trades career. Next, do your research and ask a lot of questions.
You’ll discover there are many financial supports out there for women in the skilled trades. Ways to get your training paid for.
For example, the Canadian government has just created the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women—$19.9 million over the next five years to directly support women in trades.
You can get up to $6000 toward the cost of your training program. And this is just one of the grant programs out there.
And on the other side, there are many incentives for employers to hire female apprentices and tradespeople. Canada is desperate to recruit more women into the trades, and is making it easier than ever for them to get jobs.
This is truly the best time to seize these opportunities, and start your trades career.
Any last words to our women readers?
More than anything, I urge you to forget the idea that women don’t belong in the skilled trades. Our female students are just as talented, strong, and capable as their male peers. There is no doubt about that!
And if you’re feeling nervous to apply, and start your pre-apprenticeship training, know that there is an excellent support system waiting for you.
Our team is very happy to answer your questions, help you find funding, and give whatever support you need to launch your career.
Getting Started with Trades Training: Your Next Steps
A big thank-you to Christine Azevedo and the students of PAT for sharing their stories and advice with us. Are you inspired to take the leap, and start your own trades career? Here’s what we recommend you do next.
First, research the various pre-apprenticeship programs you could pursue:
Next, request free information about the training program of your choice. An advisor will be in touch to guide you through the process, and help you plan your next steps:
PAT is totally committed to supporting women in the skilled trades. If you’re ready to learn, we’re ready to welcome you. So, what are you waiting for?
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