BURNABY, B.C. - The B.C. government is teaming up with Sprott Shaw College and local employers to help close the gender gap in the Lower Mainland trades industry.
The province is providing Sprott Shaw with $166,238 to offer Trades Futures for Women, a Project-Based Labour Market Training program that will give up to 28 unemployed women the skills they need to find work in construction trades.
"Construction and development is booming in the Lower Mainland and it is important that we continue to provide training opportunities for British Columbians to be first in line for all of the new jobs that are being created in the region," said Michelle Stilwell, minister of social development and social innovation, in a statement. "This is a fantastic way to give female job-seekers a real chance to gain important skills and to find work in the trades-sector."
The goal of Trades Futures for Women is to help female job-seekers find well-paying jobs while also giving employers a new crop of trained individuals who can walk on to job sites, all while increasing the number of women in the trades industry.
The program gives participants 12 weeks of group-based classroom instruction in a variety of trades such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and pipe-setting, before a seven-week job placement in a trade of their choice with local businesses. They can use their job-placement hours towards future apprenticeship opportunities and are paid a stipend throughout the course of the program.
According to the province, nearly 90 per cent of trade apprentices in B.C. are male. This funding announcement builds on government's effort to increase female representation in the trades sector and provide equal employment opportunities.
Nine local trades businesses have partnered with the program to offer job-placement opportunities and have shown interest in increasing the number of women on staff. These employers are Mr. Rooter Plumbing, Summit Brooke Construction, DGS Construction, Trotter & Morgan Technologies, WSI Space Changers, Protec Installations Group, Excalibur Electric, Accurate Electric and Custom Controls.
The program is based out of Sprott Shaw's School of Trades Campus in Burnaby and the first intake of participants began training on March 20. A second intake begins on June 30.
Funding for the project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program.
In B.C., more than 3,900 women were registered in 75 different trades in 2015-16, a 180 per cent increase since 2005-16.
Last year, the B.C. government invested $400,000 to create a unique made-in-B.C. mentorship program to help women succeed in their path to become tradespeople. Since 2008-09, more than 3,600 women have been served through the Industry Training Authority's Women in Trades Training program.
As of March 31, 2016, there were 3,911 registered female apprentices in B.C., representing 10.3 per cent of all registered apprentices. They were registered in 72 different trades, with 45 per cent (1,778) registered in "non-traditional" trades such as welders, carpenters, plumbers, construction electricians.