Feds invest in skilled trades for girls in high school

Program to provide 'foundational skills, knowledge and experience'

Feds invest in skilled trades for girls in high school

With an estimated 700,000 skilled trades workers expected to retire between 2019 to 2028, the federal government is encouraging young women to consider a career in skilled trades.

As part of a two-year project, high school girls will have access to career expos and exploratory workshops where they can try a trade and online resources to connect with professional skilled tradeswomen. They can also learn about supports that will help them start careers in well-paying skilled trades. About 5,000 girls across Canada will benefit from the project, says the government.

“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,” says Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

This Build a Dream career exploration expansion project received $728,000 through the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program, which encourages all Canadians — particularly those 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, says the government.

More than 10,500 Canadians are expected to benefit from the current projects under the skilled trades awareness and readiness program.

“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,” says Nour Hachem-Fawaz, president and founder of Build a Dream. “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.”

Funding for the program began with $6 million in 2018, 2019 and $10 million per year ongoing thereafter, as announced in the 2018 budget.

The government proposed additional new investments in its 2019 budget including:

  • $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
  • 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
  • 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.

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