Women in Trades Program gain hands-on experience

Many aspects of a woman’s life are affected when they experience domestic abuse.  As they struggle to find safety and get back on their feet, they can face homelessness, poverty and unemployment.  Learning a trade, building skills and finding a secure job can be life changing for these women.  

“That’s why Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey is so pleased to see programs being offered that support women and builds skills and education to help them to find meaningful work, like the one that the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) recently held in partnership with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Local 2222,” said Michelle Lamont of Women’s House.   

OCNI, in partnership with First Nations Power Authority (FNPA), was awarded a Skills Development Fund grant by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to recruit, train, and place women and Indigenous people, two traditionally underrepresented groups, into skilled trades positions to support nuclear life-extension projects. This project, Indigenous & Women Skilled Trade Development Pathway to the Nuclear / Clean Energy Sector, will create education and employment opportunities in skilled trades, provide pre-employment soft-skill and hard-skill training, experiential learning experiences, and potential future training opportunities within trade apprenticeships.  

One of the initiatives of this program, Women in Skilled Trades Readiness Program, in partnership with the UBC Local 2222 and VPI Working Solutions, and with support from the Adult Learning Center, is a five-week trades and skills training workshop series focused on women that includes job development support, academic upgrading, safety certifications, introduction to carpentry, and a five-week training placement.   

Women’s House has been doing a long overdue renovation of the outdoor playground and exercise area at the shelter, allowing for a safe and updated area for our residents to get outdoors during their stay at the shelter.  UBC Local 2222 graciously offered to provide a much needed new shed for the Women’s House backyard location, and with it, they offered a unique idea along with it.  

Ryan Plante of UBC Local 2222 said, “Having the participants of the program build the shed created a great opportunity to promote skilled trades awareness while giving back to our community partners, it was a great fit and we were pleased to participate.”

Mary Smith, Property Manager at Women’s House added, “The old backyard shed was a hazard and we needed the outdoor storage space for outdoor items used by our residents, so we were excited that the shed the Carpenter’s Union donated was also used to help women obtain carpentry skills – a great partnership and opportunity for both organizations!”  The timing was perfect for Women’s House to be fortunate enough to be a part of the Women in Skilled Trades Readiness Program culmination, asking the participants to use the outdoor shelter playground shed as a means to show off their newly learned skills.  

“Part of this program involves a hands-on training component, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to have been able to participate in the shed build, especially for such an important community organization,” said Terri-Lynn Woods Manager, Indigenous Engagement and Special Projects. 

The shed project was a serendipitous opportunity for all the partners to demonstrate the success of the program, the new skills of all of the participants and the generosity of our community, while providing a well-used and necessary part to the Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey backyard build.  Women’s House is so appreciative of everyone’s efforts in making this a success.