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There is an under representation of women in skilled trades in this country. One important area of concern, identified by women and industry partners, is with the low number of qualified women
advancing in building trades occupations in construction.
A Statistics Canada study shows that fewer than 3% of all apprentices in construction and industry trades are women. Much has been done to encourage women to enter the trades as a career option and significant investments have been made in entry-level training for women not in the workforce. However, challenges remain largely unaddressed for women already in the trades.
This Sector Labour Market Partnership Project focuses on women in trades for the construction industry in British Columbia. According to BuildForce Canada there are approximately 39,400
BC workers who will retire in the next 10 years and at the same time the labour force will grow by 18,600 workers, making a total of 58,000 workers required over the next years. It is our hope that this project will start to find a solution to increase the amount of women trade workers to help fill this demand for construction workers and create a more balanced workforce.
The Project is to gather information from women in trades and employers across BC to inform the creation of a BC specific women in trades mentorship program and recommendations on a broader service system to support women working in the building trades.
Focus groups were conducted across four regions of BC: Lower Mainland (3 focus groups),
Vancouver Island (2), Northern BC (2), and the Interior (3). Group composition will aim to optimize
representation across key segments, including union/non-union and a mix of trades. In-depth
interviews with select employers and women who have left the skilled trades are also planned.
As a result of the consultations, we obtained a much deeper understanding of the workplace
characteristics and challenges facing women in trades. This information provides the opportunity
to design services to increase the hiring and retention of women in trades.
At the end of this project we will provide an analysis of the supports needed for women, including
a report on supports that are already available. The consultations will allow us to design a made in
BC mentorship program for women as well as recommendations of a broader scope of services, and
potentially a method for delivering those services.
SkillPlan is leading/managing this project for Industry through the Sector Labour Market
Partnership Program funded through the Ministry of Jobs Tourism and Skills Training and
Responsible for Labour and it is sub-contracting to SRDC for research and Build Together for
SkillPlan is a nationally recognized leader in workforce development programs. They have 25 years
of experience providing workforce development consulting services and resources to the mining
and construction industry, as well as other sectors.
Build Together – Women of the Building Trades is a BC Building Trades and Canadian Building
Trades Union program that promotes, supports and mentors women in the skilled construction
trades. They are building partnerships and creating a sponsor recognition program of like- minded
organizations who have goals to further the success of women in the trades.
The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) is a non-profit research organization,
with offices in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, created specifically to develop, field test, and
rigorously evaluate social programs.
For focus group information view the Focus Group Poster or contact: