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Aprl 16, 2017

Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee announcing trades funding for womenThe BC 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.

“As we look around the Lower Mainland,” said Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee during a program announcement, “the construction boom continues to grow and it is important that we give British Columbians the chance to be first in line for the jobs that are being created because of it. I’m excited that we are able to offer this opportunity to a group of women to get the training and work experience that will put them in position to find jobs and join in on our strong, diverse and growing economy.”

“Construction and development is booming in the Lower Mainland,” says Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, “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. 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.”

This labour market training program will 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. According to the province, nearly 90% of trade apprentices in B.C. are male.

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.

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, including two in the electrical industry:

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.

In BC, more than 3,900 women were registered in 75 different trades in 2015-16, a 180% increase since 2005-16. Last year, the BC government invested $400,000 to create a unique made-in-BC 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 BC, representing 10.3% of all registered apprentices. They were registered in 72 different trades, with 45% (1,778) registered in “non-traditional” trades such as construction electricians, welders, carpenters, and plumbers.