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Canada Helps Young Women Prepare For High Demand And Well Paying Jobs In The Skilled Trades

To keep Canada’s economy strong and growing, workers will need the right skills to fill in-demand and well-paying jobs. The Government of Canada is taking steps to encourage young Canadians facing barriers to explore careers in the trades.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable
Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced Build a Dream’s Career Exploration Expansion project that aims to attract female high school students to careers in the skilled trades. Approximately 5,000 girls across Canada will benefit from the project.

This project received $728,000 through the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program, which encourages all Canadians—particularly Canadians facing barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, racialized persons, persons with disabilities and youth—to pursue careers in the skilled trades through career exploration, skills training and work experience. More than 10,500 Canadians are expected to benefit from the current projects under the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program.

As part of the two-year project, high school-age women will benefit from career expos and exploratory workshops where they can “try a trade” and have access to an online resource where they can connect with professional skilled tradeswomen and learn about supports that will help them start careers in well-paying skilled trades.   

Quotes

“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. By creating a skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce, our government is strengthening the middle class and creating a more prosperous country.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“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.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour

With an ever-changing workforce, while skilled trades positions go unfilled, there is a need to encourage young women to explore career options they may not have previously considered. Bold action is needed. The Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program provides Build a Dream with the opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders across Canada to create a balanced workforce and a strong economy.”
– Nour Hachem-Fawaz, President and Founder, Build a Dream

Quick Facts

  • Funding for the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program started with $6 million in 2018–19 and $10 million per year ongoing thereafter, as announced in Budget 2018.
  • Skilled trades are a key component of the Canadian economy, employing more than 3 million Canadians in rewarding, well-paying jobs (2018 Labour Force Survey).
  • Employers, provinces and territories, learning institutions, unions, community organizations and individuals all have key roles to play in Canada’s continued success in building a skilled, mobile and certified workforce that supports Canada’s labour market.
  • The demand for tradespeople is expected to remain strong. Between 2019 to 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire (Canadian Occupational Projection System, 2019 Projections).
  • Women face barriers to entering the trades, largely due to a lack of mentors, difficulty finding an employer, discrimination and family obligations. Only 9% of Red Seal apprentices are women (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).
  • The average age of starting an apprenticeship is 29 years old (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).

Associated Links

Union Training and Innovation Program 
Support for Apprentices
Budget Plan

Backgrounder

The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding across various programs.

Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program

Budget 2018 announced the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, racialized persons, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.

The program supports pre-apprenticeship training including:

  • career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the skilled trades as viable, good‑quality careers through means such as “try a trade” events, career fairs, job shadowing and mentorships;
  • skills training to help participants upgrade essential skills such as literacy and numeracy, and technical skills so they are ready for apprenticeship training; and
  • work experience to explore the trades with hands-on job experience, form connections with employers and increase employment readiness.

Union Training and Innovation Program

Through a $25 million annual investment, the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP):

  • helps unions improve the quality of training through investments in up-to-date training equipment and materials;
  • supports innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes; and
  • reduces barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women and Indigenous people, racialized persons, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth.

UTIP has two streams:

  1. The Investments in Training Equipment Stream helps unions purchase new and up-to-date training equipment and materials needed to train workers in the Red Seal trades.
  2. The Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream focuses on innovative approaches to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes, including barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers to Canada, persons with disabilities, racialized persons and youth. This stream is open to a range of stakeholders and partners, but unions need to be involved, either as the lead or as a partner on projects. 

Women in Construction Fund

Budget 2018 announced the Women in Construction Fund with an investment of $10 million over three years to increase the participation of women in construction trades by helping them progress through their training and retain jobs in the trades.

The Women in Construction Fund, which is expected to benefit approximately 2,800 women over three years, supports projects that target the Red Seal construction trades and focus on:

  • attracting and recruiting women into the trades (e.g. site visits, hands-on experiences and career exploration);
  • supporting apprentice training and skill development through upgrading of essential skills and a continuum of tailored services for women (e.g. child care, transportation, purchase of tools, coaching and mentoring); and
  • supporting employers by developing recruitment and retention tools and supports based on best practices for inclusive and respectful workplaces.

Budget 2019

To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed in Budget 2019 additional new investments:

  • $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020–21, and $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider careers in the skilled trades and technology;
  • $6 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
  • a new Apprenticeship Strategy to support apprentices and those employed in the skilled trades, which will help ensure that existing supports and programs address barriers for those who want to work in the skilled trades, and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
  • a lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans, starting in 2019–20, with the first six months interest-free after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training; and
  • the new Canada Training Benefit to help workers find the time and money needed to take training, improve their skills, and build strong and lasting careers.

New commitments under the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Mandate Letter 2019

As a further measure to support the skilled trades, the Government has committed to:

  • creating the Canadian Apprenticeship Service in partnership with provinces, territories, employers and unions. This will involve establishing new initiatives so that Red Seal apprentices have sufficient work experience opportunities to finish their training on time and find well paying jobs, including providing up to $10,000 per apprentice over four years for every new position created; and
  • continuing to support the work of the national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a top choice career for young people.

Apprenticeship grants

Since the introduction of the apprenticeship grants, more than 880,000 grants have been issued to Canadians, representing over $1 billion in funding. This includes more than:

  • 620,000 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants;
  • 3,600 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants for Women; and
  • 256,000 Apprenticeship Completion Grants.

Employment and Social Development Canada

 
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