CAF-FCA to Develop National Strategy for Women in Trades by 2020

EIN 37 CS women in trades 400

Sept 5, 2019

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum-Forum Canadien sur l’Apprentissage (CAF-FCA) has announced a task force to develop a national strategy for women in trades.

“Our country is going to need thousands of new trades professionals in the next five years, and the creation of a national strategy to help attract more women to the trades will be critical to meeting labour market and economic needs,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of BC’s Industry Training Authority, and member of the new task force. “To do this, it’s important to develop workplaces that are welcoming, positive, and inclusive of everyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship.”

The task force is a product of CAF-FCA’s 2019 Supporting Women in Trades Conference. With their initial conference in 2018 they developed their Road Map to Supporting Women in Trades report.

“We already know what the barriers are. Insights from this task force, along with twenty years of CAF-FCA national research in the area will provide a clear direction on how to create sustainable change. The entire skilled trades community needs to work together and set targets for increasing female participation – what gets measured gets done,” said CAF-FCA Executive Director, France Daviault.

The task force, comprised of apprentices, tradeswomen, representatives from women’s organizations, labour groups, employers, educators and jurisdictional apprenticeship authorities will inform specific strategy content and establish a national target to increase participation and retention of females in skilled trades careers.

Ultimately, the goal is to shift the narrative when it comes to women and trades to address gender disparity as well as support the growing demand for tradespeople. Daviault said currently, trades are not presented to women as a viable career option. Getting more women into upper-level positions is crucial for the progression of industry.

“It’s typically been seen as careers that are dirty and that require a lot of physical exertion and all of those image barriers that we have. But with the new technologies that are affecting these trades, there is so much opportunity for women,” she said in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener.

The CAF-FCA Strategy task force will hold its inaugural meeting on September 9, 2019. The task force will present their National Strategy for Women in Trades report at the 2020 National Apprenticeship conference to be held in Calgary May 24-26.

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