Canadian Apprenticeship Forum to Develop a National Strategy for Women in Trades

A task force of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) has proposed to oversee the development of a National Strategy for Women in Trades based on consultations with stakeholders over the last two years.

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Since their first-ever national conference dedicated to female participation in the skilled trades in 2018, the CAF-FCA says more than 600 delegates have gathered at the their events to share ideas on how to remove the barriers women encounter pursuing careers in which they are traditionally under-represented.

The task force includes tradeswomen, apprentices, representatives from women’s organizations, labour groups, employers, educators and jurisdictional apprenticeship authorities.

According to the CAF-FCA , the members will inform specific strategy content and establish a national target to increase participation and retention of females in skilled trades careers.

“We already know what the barriers are. Insights from this task force, along with twenty years of CAF-FCA national research in the area will provide a clear direction on how to create sustainable change,” said France Daviault, Executive Director of CAF-FCA. “The entire skilled trades community needs to work together and set targets for increasing female participation – what gets measured gets done.”

As a result of the inaugural event, and the subsequent 2019 Supporting Women in Trades Conference, the CAF-FCA developed A Road Map to Supporting Women in Trades action plan, which outlines the priorities and areas for action identified by the more than 350 delegates in attendance.

“Our country is going to need thousands of new trades professionals in the next five years, and the creation of a National Strategy to help attract more women to the trades will be critical to meeting labour market and economic needs,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of B.C’s Industry Training Authority and task force participant. “To do this, it’s important to develop workplaces that are welcoming, positive, and inclusive of everyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship.”

The first meeting of the CAF-FCA Strategy task force is on September 9, 2019.  The National Strategy for Women in Trades will be presented at the National Apprenticeship Conference in Calgary, AB on May 24-26, 2020.