A gateway for women entering trades

JAYNA WIEWIOROWSKI

Jayna Wiewiorowski is program and development co-ordinator for West Coast Women in Trades

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In the skilled trades, women are the largest under-represented group. The number of women enrolled in trades programs at Camosun College has been increasing, but even today women are only nine per cent of the 2,700 students enrolled in trades.

The trades, however, offer solid employment opportunities and rewarding careers.

These careers enable women to establish a life-work balance that suits them as individuals. Unlike many jobs held by women, trades careers offer equal pay for both women and men.

Camosun has a proven record of success educating students who are among the first in a generation to join the world of women working in trades.

This year, 144 women are enrolled in our specialized West Coast Women in Trades program. Women who have graduated from the program tell us the level of personal engagement with faculty and the extraordinarily welcoming and friendly culture on campus diminished perceived barriers.

The all-female Trade Skills foundation program offered at Camosun provides a 40-day introduction to eight in-demand Red Seal mechanical, metal and construction trades apprenticeship programs.

With the opportunity to experience this full range of options and initial hands-on learning, women are empowered to make an informed choice about trades.

They are well-placed to integrate with other students in the apprenticeship program of their choice.

It is our goal to establish Camosun College as the recognized gateway in B.C. for women entering trades and increase the number of women enrolled in our trades programs each year to more than 500 students by 2020.

To accomplish this, we must raise the profile of trades careers as excellent opportunities for women through enhancing partnerships with K-12 schools and families to encourage women to consider the trades.

Thanks to major supporters Seaspan, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Concert Properties, we now have funding to launch the new West Coast Women in Trades program.

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