When it comes to the trades, it’s not necessarily a man’s world anymore.
That’s the thrust behind a program going on right now at the Kitimat Valley Institute.
As a prelude to the course, KVI held a Women’s in Trades session at Mount Elizabeth Secondary early last month.
Kevin Jeffery said that about 40 women showed up including high school students – “a nice cross-section of the community”.
The session included a presentation by the provincial Industry Training Authority and a female Certified A welder recounted her experience in both training and working with men.
Her message, said Jeffery, was these days “It’s not and old boy’s school. Women are very well accepted in the workplace.”
The session also outlined what financial assistance is available to qualifying applicants to help them pursue their training: daycare, work clothes, transportation and education/books, for example.
Jeffery said the reaction of those attending was “it is possible”, adding he is a firm believer that if you put in the effort, you can do anything you want.
He also pointed out there are those in this community who will help you along a new career path so long as you put in that effort.
The Introduction to Construction course started last week and actually goes a little outside its name, looking at both the construction and automotive trades.
Jeffery said the ground covered will include essential skills such as math, life skills, learn to learn and one week devoted to safety.
Nearly half the program, four weeks, will not surprisingly focus on different trades so that participants can find out exactly what each involves and requires in terms of qualification.
There will also be a week of job-shadowing.
And the wrap up will recap where the jobs are, what they involve and what the wage scales are “so they can make an informed decision,” said Jeffery.
At which point they will be helped to put together an action plan to achieve their goal.
He said KVI is also working on agreements for local hire on projects such as the Rio Tinto smelter modernisation and the proposed liquefied natural gas export plant “so the opportunity would be that you could apprentice in your own back yard.”
That said, he stressed trades were not restricted to industrial plants, they also existed in service industries.
Adding in projects like the Northwest Transmission Line and the mine developments that would spill out of that, Jeffery was confident,. “There is a ton of opportunity in our area…the timing is great for our community.”
And, given the interest, he said KVI will be running more such programs, the next one likely in the Spring.
If you want to check out more about trades, including what a broad range the word covers, go to the ITA site, itabc.ca.