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Gender-inclusive training course for trades celebrates first Manitoba graduates

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Gender-inclusive training course for trades celebrates first Manitoba graduates
A new training course for male supervisors in the trades in Manitoba celebrated the completion of its first intake on Friday. – Jun 14, 2024

A new training course for male supervisors in the trades in Manitoba celebrated the completion of its first intake on Friday.

Focusing on the topics of gender inclusiveness, the program called Shift Change was originally developed in Halifax and was brought to Manitoba thanks in part to a partnership between the Manitoba Construction Sector Council and YMCA-YWCA Winnipeg.

Bonnie Douglas, project manager with the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science Trades and Technology said the Manitoba course is the first time the program has been offered outside of Nova Scotia.

“Developed by YWCA Halifax, the Shift Change — Gender Inclusive Leadership Course is designed to facilitate and lead culture change and make male-dominated industries safer and more inclusive for everyone,” Douglas said. “With the support of our partners, Manitoba’s Shift Change is the program’s first expansion site in Canada.”

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Twelve individuals, representing a number of sectors in the trades, graduated from the six-week, 30-hour program. Christian Fais, a supervisor with Bird Construction, was one of the grads. He says he was always aware some women were treated differently on the job but he didn’t know the full extent of issues until he took the course.

“Hearing them, and with everything we went through at the training, that was really… a little bit disturbing sometimes,” Fais said. “To know people go to work and face some of those challenges.”

There is hope for more change, though, as two course graduates are set to become facilitators of the program.

“I’ve gone through a lot of diversity and inclusion training, both as a facilitator and a participant,” said Jaime Chinchilla, a participant and future program facilitator with Johnston Group Inc. “This one is one of a kind. We go thorough six weeks of talking about small issues that all women go through in the workplace, in this case in the trades sector, all the way up to bigger more complex issues that are seen across society.”

The hope is that more people will become allies for women in trades as more participants progress through the program.

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