With the addition of nearly one million job openings expected in the province by 2025, women are poised to play an increasingly important role in keeping British Columbia's economy diverse, strong and growing — particularly in the construction trades.
Currently in B.C., we have approximately 3,600 female apprentices registered in 70 different trades, with 49 per cent of them registered in construction trades (such as construction electrician, carpenter, welder, plumber, steamfitter-pipefitter, refrigeration mechanic etc.) With growing interest in skilled trades careers amongst women in B.C., this number is continuously on the rise.
The Industry Training Authority (ITA) manages the skilled trades system in B.C., and is responsible for ensuring women are aware of the opportunities in the trades by providing access to information about trades training, job search tools, resources and employment programs.
The Women in Trades Training (WITT) program is one such program available to women in various circumstances to help set them on the path to a successful career in a typically male-dominated industry.
Since it was first introduced in 2008, over 3,600 women have benefitted from the WITT program, increasing the total number of female registered apprentices from eight per cent to 10.4 per cent.
ITA is proud to offer the WITT program to foster curiosity, support career growth and ultimately to help remove barriers of entry for women into the skilled trades. The opportunities are endless for women in the construction trades — sign up for the WITT program and get started on your trades journey today.
What is the WITT program?
The WITT program connects eligible women of all backgrounds with funded training opportunities in the skilled trades by helping them overcome barriers to entering this industry.
The program is funded through the Canada BC Job Fund Agreement (CJF-ESS) and overseen by ITA, as part of the government's long-term strategy to match the skills of female apprentices with the needs of B.C.'s labour market.
Who may be interested?
Single parents who need to increase their income to support their family; women looking for higher paying or more challenging careers; women who have just completed secondary school; and women who are returning to work or entering the workforce again, the WITT program might just be the perfect fit to jump start their career.
Who is eligible?
Find out the eligibility requirements to participate in the WITT program at www.itabc.ca/discover-apprenticeship-programs/canada-bc-job-fund#Eligibility
What is offered?
WITT program funding covers costs relevant to the program participant, such as tuition for pre-apprenticeship training programs, work clothes, tools, transportation, day care supports, job search supports and employer connections.
Where does it take place?
ITA currently works with four partner organizations located in the Okanagan, Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.
These training providers offer pre-apprenticeship programs, exclusively for women, that provide hands-on trades exploration/sampler training that may ladder into employment or foundation technical training and employment supports.
Eligible women may also access training and financial supports through several other general programs offered by ITA through CJF-ESS.
How to get started?
All the information you need to get started can be found on ITA's website at www.itabc.ca, including eligibility requirements and regional service providers.
To comment or submit an Industry Voices column idea, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.