Leveling The Field For Tradeswomen In The Fraser Valley

By October 21, 2014Business News

ITA Best Practices Guide to Employing Women in the Trades aims to increase B.C.’s skilled labour pool

Submitted. The Industry Training Authority (ITA) has introduced a first of its kind resource in B.C. for trades employers. Leveling The Field – A Best Practices Guide to Employing Women in the Trades has been developed to help employers with their overall hiring practices by creating a positive work environment for new apprentices, and also serve as a tool for employers who are increasingly adding tradeswomen to their teams.


By 2022, B.C. is expecting over one million job openings, 43 per cent of which will be in trades and technical occupations. Employers who want to hire British Columbians first are looking to expand their pool of candidates, and more and more women are considering the trades as a valid and dynamic career choice.


“With one million job openings on the horizon, it is vital that we tap into the full potential of our workforce,” said Shirley Bond, Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “This best practices guide is a valuable tool for encouraging more women to consider a career in the skilled trades, as well as helping employers ensure workplaces are welcoming and supportive for women.”


It’s great to see more and more women breaking barriers and making inroads with the trades,” said Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas. “We are going to need highly skilled workers to fill important jobs in the LNG industry and this Guide will encourage women to pursue rewarding careers like these.”


The Best Practices Guide is produced through the ITA Women in Trades Training Initiative and is a direct result of in-depth, province-wide consultation with over 800 employers and apprentices, and with special input from 15 employers/industry associations. “In our conversations with employers and women working in the trades, we heard that a best practices guide would be a welcome tool to help improve employment practices for all apprentices and tradespeople,” says Erin Johnston, director of Training Delivery, ITA. “We hope this will help employers look at their overall employment, remove barriers to the workplace, and find and keep skilled people in the workforce across the board.”


To help employers assess their workplace policies and practices, the Guide focuses on a number of areas, including recruitment and hiring, orientation, developing and maintaining a safe and welcoming workplace, and retention. Fraser Valley area Lacey Developments helped participate in its development. “Ensuring that our workplace is inclusive doesn’t just end with hiring,” says Lesa Lacey, Business Manager at Lacey Developments in Deroche. “It’s important to ensure that your employees feel supported throughout their career with your company. Great employee talent is a competitive advantage, and this Guide is a great way to ensure that your workforce is a confident, happy, cohesive team.”


Currently 10 per cent of BC’s trades apprentices are women, but for apprentices under the age of 19, the number rises to 26 per cent. As more women successfully find work in the trades, others will continue to see trades as a viable career option. Cathy Minty is an apprentice Plumber from Delta.


“I am enjoying my budding career as a tradeswoman immensely, and all the effort I have made to get to this point has certainly been rewarding,” says Minty. “I look forward to best practices being integrated into the hiring and retention policies of companies as this will remove some unintentional barriers that female apprentices, like myself, have faced. More and more women are looking into trades as a viable career option and our industry will be investing in some valuable assets by reevaluating hiring and retention polices.”


Leveling The Field – A Best Practices Guide to Employing Women in the Trades is being rolled out through local employer and labour champions, ITA Apprenticeship Advisors, customer service supports, and targeted communications such as newsletters, employer outreach and social media. Funding for the Guide was provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.


To obtain a copy of the Guide, contact ITA Customer Service at 1-866-660-6011 or customerservice@itabc.ca. The Guide can be viewed online and downloaded at:http://www.itabc.ca/managing-apprentices/best-practices-guides.


About Industry Training Authority (ITA)

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) leads and coordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system. ITA works with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards, and increase opportunities in the trades. ITA is also a key collaborator in the provincial government’s 10 year skills training plan, the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which sets out a plan for re-engineering our education and training system to support our growing and changing economy and help British Columbians take full advantage of the opportunities presented by these changes.


About ITA Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative

The Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative is overseen by ITA, the provincial crown agency responsible for managing BC’s industry training and apprenticeship system. The Initiative helps women that are unemployed or employed but lacking formal certification become skilled and in-demand tradespeople by offering tuition for training programs, and financial assistance for tools, books and childcare subsidies. It also provides women with general skills upgrading, career counselling, on-the-job training and introductions to potential employers.

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