CAF-FCA completes Women in the Skilled Trades program pilot


The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) has completed the new National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades pilot.

The program was developed in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices (the Office) and is available to all tradeswomen including Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and those from racialized groups. 

The pilot program was completed in December of 2022 and is scheduled to begin the second cohort in February 2023. Fourteen participants successfully earned a certificate for completing the course.

“I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting this course on and helping me find myself again. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I am so happy I was selected to be a part of this, it came at the absolute best time in my life. You have helped me regain my confidence, I am back to enjoying my trade and back to feeling like me again,” said one National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades Participant.

Participants were guided by subject matter experts to learn effective strategies and gain practical tips to empower them as leaders in their workplaces and the broader community.  

The program focused on improving knowledge about strategies to mentor, take on leadership roles on the job site and within their unions, communicate, resolve conflict, and speak with confidence.

“Not only have the individuals involved in the program been positively impacted by the experience, but industry will also benefit through empowered and qualified women leaders,” says the organization.

The participants are already pursing additional programs, and two have enrolled in higher education.  One participant has received a promotion since completing the program, while another wants to organize a confidence building workshop for women in her union. 

The CAF-FCA and the Office hopes that this impact will continue to grow and will reach all sectors and regions over time. “Even with this first cohort and the engagement and success so far, it is evident that given the correct tools and support for growth and leadership, women will positively impact change and advancement in the trades sector.  As women leaders embrace equity, diversity and inclusion, their leadership style will influence how apprentices act on-the-job, leading to more supportive and safe workplaces for all employees,” says Karen Walsh, Project Consultant, Office to Advance Women Apprentices.

France Daviault, Executive Director of CAF-FCA, believes that this program is only the beginning of additional development supports that will help bridge the leadership equity gap.

“The goal of this program and other future programs being considered by CAF-FCA, is to support a pathway to leadership opportunities within the skilled trades. When there is equitable decision making and inclusive leadership in a place of work, recruitment, retention, and productivity are positively impacted.”

The National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades is offered at no cost to tradeswomen and offered in a safe and respectful setting. CAF-FCA and the Office to Advance Women Apprentices are working with industry, trades unions, government, and training institutions to support development and administration costs.

The next cohort is set to start on February 13, 2023, and information to apply for the September 2023 cohort will be released in the coming months.

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