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Economy

Alberta’s UCP government commits $10M to bring more women into skilled trades

Advanced Education Minister Nicolaides and MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk participates in a demonstration at Women Building Futures with class lead Deanna Currie, and Shawna Cloutier, student.
Advanced Education Minister Nicolaides and MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk participates in a demonstration at Women Building Futures with class lead Deanna Currie, and Shawna Cloutier, student. Supplied by the Government of Alberta

A non-profit organization that helps women get opportunities in skilled trades will receive $10 million from Alberta’s government, according to a news release issued by the Ministry of Advance Education on Thursday.

“We are delivering on our promise to invest in the skilled trades,” said Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides. “By supporting Women Building Futures, we will be able to achieve three key goals.

“First, we will address the growing shortage of skilled tradespeople in Alberta. Second, we are empowering women to purse rewarding careers in industries where women are traditionally underrepresented. Third, this investment recognizes that apprenticeship learning and the skilled trades have every bit as much value, merit and worth as a university degree.”

According to the province, about 20,000 skilled trade workers will be in a position to retire over the next five years and that number balloons to 45,000 in 10 years.

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The government said women in Alberta currently only account for 5.3 per cent of workers in the construction and maintenance industries. It said Women Building Futures has a “90 per cent or better employment rate” within six months of graduation and the the organization works with industry partners to make sure training meets companies’ skilled workforce requirements and employment readiness.

READ MORE: ‘You Got This’ campaign encourages women pursuing careers in trades

Watch below: (From November 2017) ‘You Got This’ is an interactive campaign aiming to support women pursuing careers in the trades. Emily Mertz explains who’s behind it and how it works.

‘You Got This’ campaign supports women pursuing careers in the trades
‘You Got This’ campaign supports women pursuing careers in the trades

“This multi-year investment by the Government of Alberta in Women Building Futures is about transforming women’s lives, families and communities,” said Women Building Futures ‘ president Kathy Kimpton. “Women Building Futures will be able to expand our training to more women across Alberta.

“We know women are succeeding in the trades every single day, and Alberta’s labour market is going to need more skilled tradespeople to support our economy.”

READ MORE: First female ironworker apprentices graduate from Women Building Futures

Watch below: (From May 2016) 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.

Alberta refinery introduces first class of female iron workers
Alberta refinery introduces first class of female iron workers
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