Inaugural National Leadership Development Program for Women in skilled trades is underway
by CM Staff
Eighteen apprentice tradeswomen will be the first participants in the program developed and administered in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA).
OTTAWA — The inaugural cohort of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s (CAF-FCA) National Leadership Program for Women in Skilled Trades is underway after an application period. Eighteen apprentice tradeswomen will be the first participants in the program developed and administered in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (OAWA). Due to the high level of interest, the partners will fund an additional cohort at no cost to tradeswomen which will start in February. CAF-FCA and OAWA will work with industry, trades unions, government, and training institutions to support future development and administration costs of the program.
Guided by subject matter experts, participants will learn effective strategies and gain practical tips to empower them as leaders in their skilled trades workplaces and the broader community. Modules included in the program are Principles of Leadership, Communicating with Confidence, Teamwork, Mentoring and Conflict Resolution, Supervisory and Management Skills and Mental Health and Well-Being. Participants will complete the program online through a learning management system allowing for self-paced learning and an interactive forum with facilitators and tradeswomen coaches.
Women are marginalized in skilled trades workplaces and experience barriers. Female apprentices report more difficulty finding employer sponsors and have lower apprenticeship completion rates than males (Prism, 2021). As a result, non-completing women cannot access the high-paying, full-time work associated with certification in the trades. A positive work environment and support from peers are key to program retention but in the absence of these women, apprentices report poorer mental health than male apprentices (CAF-FCA, 2020) contributing to a lack of confidence and a sense of isolation. Many women apprentices and journeypersons have limited access to leadership training or development opportunities for self-advocacy, public speaking, conflict resolution and mentoring.