Government looks to women to help solve skilled labour shortage

One thing that has changed dramatically in the past 20 years is the number of young women entering the trades.
The Canadian government is trying to address the labour shortage by attracting more females into the skilled trades.
On Feb. 13, Filomena Tassi, minister of labour, announced the new Build a Dream’s Career Exploration Expansion project in Windsor, Ont., which is aimed at attracting female high school students in careers in the skilled trades in the area.
“Our government’s support for this project with Build a Dream will help Windsor’s young women in high school get ready for good jobs in the skilled trades, build better lives for themselves and make their communities stronger,” said Tassi.
Around 5,000 girls are expected to benefit from the program. The program received $728,000 through the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program, which encourages all Canadians to pursue careers in the skilled trades.
“The new Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program will help equip young Canadian women facing barriers to employment with the foundational skills, knowledge and experience they need to get training and start well-paying careers in the skilled trades,” explained Qualtrough.
“By creating a skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce, our government is strengthening the middle class and creating a more prosperous country.” The Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program started with $6 million in 2018-19 and $10 million per year ongoing.
As part of this year-year project, high school age women will benefit from career expos and exploratory workshops where they can try out a trade and have access to an online resource where they can connect with professional skilled tradeswomen.
Between 2019 to 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire, reports the Canadian Occupational Projection System, 2019 Projections. Currently, only nine per cent of Red Seal apprentices are women. The average age of a starting apprentice is 29 years old.