Outreach programs coupled with support and data prove successful

Given the apparent drop in women in the trades reported by Statistic Canada is enough being done to attract women into the trades and keep them there?

“I’d hesitate to say yes,” Lindsay Kearns, a Red Seal electrician and outreach co-ordinator for the BC Centre for Women in the Trades (BCCWITT) says.

“I meet women in their mid-30s like me who find out what I do and say, oh, I never thought I could go into a trade like that.”

Reaching out to kids in high school and getting them into shop class — especially all girl classes — takes a lot of the stigma and embarrassment out of the picture, she says.

“We can always do more,” she adds noting she was a late starter and many women also enter the trades at a later age.

“There’s all kinds of discussion from PPE that fits, dealing with pregnancy on the job and childcare,” Cheryl Paron International Representative, First District (Canada), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, in B.C. says. “Sometimes it is just about having someone to talk to after a bad day.”

The outreach programs have been working, she says, focusing on kids in Grade 9 and up is critical for both boys and girls in terms of flagging construction as a career path.

“One of the key things I think is to have more women in leadership positions in construction as role models,” she says.

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