Today at the B.C. Building Trades 2016 convention, Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, announced $750,000 for two partnerships that will enhance mentorship for women and apprentices in the skilled trades.
Mentorship is one of the best ways to help women be successful once they make the decision to become a tradesperson. To help women get the support they need, the government is investing $400,000 through a partnership with SkillPlan, the Canadian Building Trades Union, Building Together – Women in the Building Trades, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to create a made-in-B.C. women-in-trades mentorship program. This investment, a direct response to the need highlighted by the Building Trades, will also identify broader services to support women working in the trades.
While there are more and more women pursuing trades careers in British Columbia, the percentage of male journeypeople is still significantly higher than females. With the addition of nearly one million job openings expected in the province by 2024, women will play an increasingly important role in keeping B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing.
In addition, Bond also announced that the B.C. government has signed an agreement with the Electrical Joint Training Committee for $350,000 to help improve mentorship and skills development for all apprentices in B.C.’s construction sector. This project will also create a return on investment model to demonstrate the value of mentorship in the building trades. This project is led by representatives from small, medium and large business owners as well as unions.
The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.
In 2014, the B.C. government launched the Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer its education and training programs so British Columbians can get the skills they need to be first in line for jobs in the province. The government will continue working closely with organizations including B.C. Building Trades so that B.C. has the skilled workforce it needs now and in the future.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training –
“Last year Lisa Langevin and members from the building trades met with us and highlighted the challenges that women face in the skilled trades. This investment is a direct response, creating a women’s mentorship program that will help women get the support they need to succeed in their trades careers.”
Kyle Downie, CEO, SkillPlan –
“SkillPlan is pleased the B.C. government is funding such an important initiative as there is an underrepresentation of women in skilled trades in this country. It is our hope through this partnership that we will be able to identify barriers and provide mentorship solutions that will support retention and advancement of women in trade occupations for the construction industry.”
Lisa Langevin, co-chair, IBEW 213 Women's Committee and BC IBEW Women's Committee; campaigns and policy director for the BC Build Together –
“I am so excited that the government will be helping us to first reach out to women in the trades to find out where the supports are most needed and then will be working with us to put a program in place to provide those supports. When you are on a jobsite and there are hundreds of guys, but you are the only woman it can be overwhelming. This program will help level that playing field by providing women with the network and resources they need to be successful in these great paying careers.”
Lindsay Amundsen, director of program development and operations for Build Together, Women of the Building Trades national program –
“We are thrilled that the B.C. government is investing to create real change for the advancement and retention of tradeswomen in their province. We believe that it's partnerships like these that can maximize impact within industry. There is so much incredible work being done to create awareness of the opportunities in the trades for women in B.C. and our goal is to streamline these efforts by working together and digging deeper with analysis to identify barriers, best practices and tools for implementation to suit the unique needs of tradeswomen in various communities across the province.”
Adam Van Steinburg, business manager IBEW 213 –
“The practice of mentorship has been the foundation for skills development ever since the creation of the modern apprentice/journeyperson system, but it has not been clearly defined. B.C.’s electrical sector has been on the leading edge of highlighting, measuring and developing training methods around this important skill.
“The Government of B.C. is now tackling the issue of how mentorship can help address performance gaps on the job, and how it can encourage more participation by women in the construction trades. We look forward to participating in this project. We owe it to our people to ensure they have every tool possible to be successful.”
Graham Trafford, chair, Electrical Joint Training Committee –
“B.C. employers and skilled tradespeople have a joint interest in training apprentices to build strength in such areas as communication, self-reliance and safety awareness, and in creating a more inclusive workplace. The EJTC welcomes the B.C. government’s focus on mentorship as a tool for helping industry deliver value to the B.C. economy and meet the evolving needs of competitive international markets.”
- The B.C. government invests more than $7.5 billion in education and training each year from early learning programs for the youngest British Columbians all the way through to post graduate education.
- Over the next 10 years, to better align annual investment to meet emerging labour market needs, the government will redirect $3 billion of our training investment to focus on skills and programs for in-demand jobs.
- Since 2008-09, the Industry Training Authority’s Women in Trades Training (WITT) program has served more than 3,000 women.
- There are approximately 3,964 registered women apprentices in the province across 72 different trades.
- The percentage of women who are registered apprentices in BC is at 10.4%, up from 8.5% in 2009.
Careers in Construction: http://www.careersinconstruction.ca/en/testimonial/lisa-langevin
B.C. 2024 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education/B-C-s-Skills-for-Jobs-Blueprint.aspx
Industry Training Authority WITT program: http://www.itabc.ca/women-trades/overview
WorkBC resources for women: https://www.workbc.ca/Resources-for/Women/Women.aspx