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First female ironworker apprentices graduate from Women Building Futures

Click to play video: 'Alberta refinery introduces first class of female iron workers' Alberta refinery introduces first class of female iron workers
WATCH ABOVE: In a time of economic uncertainty across the province, an Alberta refinery has recently hired about a dozen new iron workers. While that's not likely to gain a lot of attention, the fact they're all women is. Kendra Slugoski reports – May 19, 2016

A program that aims to break down barriers preventing more women from pursuing non-traditional careers is celebrating its first graduating class of apprentice ironworkers.

The Women Building Futures trades training organization will hold a news conference Thursday at the NWR Sturgeon Refinery.

The program trains women for careers in industrial trades typically dominated by men, such as plumbing, carpentry, welding, pipefitting, equipment operating, and sheet metal, HVAC and refrigeration.

The ironworkers apprenticeship program partners — North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) and the Alberta Ironworkers Apprenticeship and Training Plan (Local 720) — will be at Thursday’s event, along with the provincial minister of energy.

The Women Building Futures program was established in 1998. It was started by a small group of women — social workers mostly — who set out to fulfill their shared dream of helping women achieve economic prosperity through trades training and mentorship.

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Women Building Futures says it has a consistent employment placement rate of 90 per cent.

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