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National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades

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The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) will launch a new program to empower skilled trades advocates at the next Supporting Women in Trades Conference taking place June 2-3, 2022, in St. John’s NL.

The National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades is being developed in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices and will be available to all tradeswomen including Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and those from racialized groups. Participants will be guided by subject matter experts, learning effective strategies and gaining practical tips to empower them as leaders in their workplaces and the broader community. Special attention will be paid to how the learning can be applied in a skilled trades workplace. With improved knowledge about strategies to mentor, take on leadership roles on the job site and within their unions, communicate, resolve conflict, and speak with confidence, tradeswomen can be leaders and inspire young girls and other women to thrive in the skilled trades.

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

Women are marginalized in skilled trades workplaces and experience barriers. Female apprentices report more difficulty finding employer sponsors and have lower apprenticeship completion rates than males. As a result, non-completing women cannot access the high paying, full-time and leadership position work associated with certification in the trades.

A positive work environment and support from peers are key to program retention but in the absence of these women apprentices report poorer mental health than male apprentices contributing to a lack of confidence and sense of isolation. Many women apprentices and journeypersons have limited access to leadership training or development opportunities for self advocacy, public speaking, conflict resolution and mentoring.

For more information, visit or contact France Daviault.


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