By Rodrigue Gilbert, Canadian Construction Association
In the face of the looming labour shortages, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is advocating for the inclusion of more diverse, skilled workers into the construction industry. Did you know that only 11 per cent of new registrants in Red Seal apprenticeship training programs are women?
Lack of apprentices has caused labour shortages, which can lead to delays and inefficiencies, in some parts of Canada where apprentices are required for projects. In the 2018 budget, the government announced several programs to address this situation.
Women entrepreneurship strategy
According to the Business Development Bank of Canada research, fewer than 16 per cent of Canadian businesses are majority-owned by women, and businesses owned by women tend to be smaller than those owned by men. The government recognizes that women entrepreneurs face unique barriers to accessing capital, supply chains and export programs. They may also have a harder time receiving training and finding mentorship. The government’s women entrepreneurship strategy includes initiatives to support women’s entrepreneurship in four stages. Read more at bit.ly/WESbudget18.
Three new programs
$19.9 million over five years
A new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women will give women $3,000 per year for two years of training. This, combined with the $2,000 that already exists through the Apprenticeship Completion Grant, will result in $8,000 in support of women seeking Red Seal certification in a skilled trade. CCA feels that this is a great step; however, work remains to be done so that women will know that construction is a good choice for a career.
$46 million over five years
To further support women and other under-represented groups in the skilled trades, Budget 2018 proposed to create a new Pre-Apprenticeship Program. This program would encourage those groups to explore careers in the skilled trades through partnerships with provinces, territories, post-secondary institutions, training providers, unions and employers. Individuals will be able to gain work experience, make informed career choices and develop the skills needed to find jobs in the trades.
$10 million over three years
Another new initiative the government has proposed through Budget 2018 is the new WES. The fund plans to build on models that have proven to attract women to the trades. These models “provide supports such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports that help women to progress through their training and find and retain jobs in the trades.” CCA looks forward to hearing more details and seeing this initiative take shape.
Let’s keep the momentum going
It is now commonly understood that under-represented groups need to be involved in the industry to ensure its success. Quotas are not the answer, but programs such as the above that encourage better training and participation, especially by women, should be applauded and supported. We now we have an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum to encourage women to engage in the skilled trades.
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