October 15, 2019
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum- Forum Canadien sur l’apprentissage (CAF-FCA) recently announced a task force of its members from across the country will oversee the development of a National Strategy for Women in Trades based on extensive consultations with stakeholders over the last two years.

In 2018, CAF-FCA hosted the first-ever national conference dedicated to female participation in the skilled trades. In 2019, the second Supporting Women in Trades Conference was held in Vancouver. In total, more than 600 delegates gathered at these events to share ideas and engage in a conversation on how to remove the barriers women encounter pursuing careers in which they are traditionally under-represented.

A Road Map to Supporting Women in Trades was developed in 2018 from results of the inaugural event and the subsequent 2019 conference culminated in a CAF-FCA commitment to lead the development of a national strategy.

“Our country is going to need thousands of new trades professionals in the next five years, and the creation of a National Strategy to help attract more women to the trades will be critical to meeting labour market and economic needs,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of B.C’s Industry Training Authority and task force participant. “To do this, it’s important to develop workplaces that are welcoming, positive, and inclusive of everyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship.”

The task force, comprised of apprentices, tradeswomen, representatives from women’s organizations, labour groups, employers, educators and jurisdictional apprenticeship authorities will inform specific strategy content and establish a national target to increase participation and retention of females in skilled trades careers. “We already know what the barriers are. Insights from this task force, along with 20 years of CAF-FCA national research in the area will provide a clear direction on how to create sustainable change,” said France Daviault, Executive Director of CAF-FCA. “The entire skilled trades community needs to work together and set targets for increasing female participation – what gets measured gets done”, she continued.

The first meeting of the CAF-FCA Strategy task force took place in early September 2019. The National Strategy for Women in Trades will be presented at the National Apprenticeship Conference in Calgary, Alta., on May 24-26, 2020.

For more information visit the CAF-FCA website at caf-fca.org.