Young women encouraged to consider skilled trades as careers

They came from across Bruce and Grey Counties from Flesherton to Kincardine and Wiarton to Walkerton.  They were young secondary school women who may be considering entering the skilled trades and who attended the recent Skills Ontario Young Women’s Career Exploration event at the Unifor Centre in Port Elgin.

It was an opportunity for young women in Grades 9 to 12 to learn more about the career opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies through mentorship, activities and networking.

Approximately 170 young women attended the event that included the chance to network with volunteer female mentors who have already chosen a career path in the skilled trades and technologies.

       Alison Fernandes of OCNI

Guest speaker, Alison Fernandes of OCNI (Organization of Canada Nuclear Industries), said that OCNI is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the trades and skilled trades in the nuclear industry.  “We are encouraging young women to definitely consider the skilled trades.  Between 2020 and 2023, there is going to be a peak demand for skilled labour.  We have an on-going dialogue with school boards for mentorship and STEP (Skilled Trades Employment Program) focuses on finding motivated young people for the trades, particularly in the energy sector  It is an outreach, talent acquisition and industry educational training program.”

According to Fernandes, when the refurbishments are underway at Darlington and Bruce Power in 2010, there will be an annual demand for 3,000 skilled trades peoples, particularly welders, pipefitters, millwrights, boilermakers, electricians and machinists.  “Needless to say, there is good money to be made in these trades, so concentrate on your maths and sciences.”

Young Women try their hand at various skilled activities

Bri Bauman works on ambidextrous skill

Julia Rundel of Kincardine tries out hand-eye co-ordination dexterity test

(R) Volunteer mentor Denise Williams points out building technique to Madi Hickling of Sacred Heart School in Walkerton

Madi Hickling and Maddy Valad (L) are thrilled with their building technique





One of the volunteer mentors was Denise Williams who is currently enrolled in Conestoga College in Stratford.  Williams, who spent 18 years in the Health and Safety division of the government wanted a complete change in career.  “I wanted to do something that as more tangible,” said Williams, “and I love to work in carpentry.”  Williams traveled to Port Elgin for the Career session and said that she “.. wanted to give back to young women and encourage them to look at a different work choice.”