Women Building Futures (WBF) wants females to consider careers in the trades and it’s helping by training and matching them with jobs in the field.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Jacqueline Andersen, the director of stakeholder relations with the non-profit society. “Women are between four and six per cent of the field-level trades professions. And so, this conversation needs to continue, we need our partners to continue it, we need everyone to share it and we want this conversation to not stop and to be impactful.”
Organizers hope the new “You Got This” campaign will help spark that conversation.
It features inspirational videos that will air on TV, radio, before movies at Cineplex theatres and, of course, online.
“We wanted something that was empowering, that really told the women a story and ‘You Got This’ just seemed so natural,” Andersen explained. “It’s telling women that they can do this, that trades is a first-choice career opportunity for women.”
Since 1998, WBF has seen about 2,000 women graduate from its programming. It receives funding from both provincial and federal governments and works with dozens of industry partners to match graduates with appropriate careers in everything from carpentry, construction and plumbing to maintenance work and commercial driving.
“Despite the recessionary times, if we take a look at the data — from 2016 and it’s continuing on to 2017 right now — we’re hitting an over 90 per cent employment rate with the women that we hire and train,” president and CEO Kathy Kimpton said. “The difference is we train women for employment. We have very strong partnerships with industry partners that are looking for exactly what we produce.”
That, she says, are resilient, tenacious, skilled workers who are focused on productivity and safety.
“If we look at the bigger picture, from now until 2025, we know that we’re going to lose a quarter-of-a-million skilled tradespeople,” Kimpton said. “That’s a lot of people who are going to be retiring. Those retirees need to be replaced.
“This is where we’re really positioning our women to be not just an alternative; but the viable source of employment for these trades occupations.”
The “You Got This” campaign features videos of program graduates sharing their experiences in their education and work.
WBFRealTalk also encourages other tradeswomen to share their stories.
“One of the things that we found that’s most impactful with women in order to show them that they can do this, and that trades is an option for them, is to see other women that have done that,” Andersen said.
“We want these conversations to happen with women who are interested potentially in a career in trades that never thought it was possible for them,” Kimpton said. “We want the conversations to happen with people who influence the decisions they’re making, and with our industry partners who are in the process of hiring women, and replacing some of the retired tradespeople.”
The campaign website will even create a personalized WBFRealTalk phrase for potential participants.
For more information on the campaign and the WBF program, visit the Women Building Futures website.