The Canadian government has pledged $76 million to draw more women into the construction trades. Three new programs, announced earlier this week in the 2018 federal budget, will inform women about apprenticeship programs, dispense financial grants for training and provide resources as they move into the workforce.
To begin, the budget commits $46 million over five years for a pre-apprenticeship outreach program that will promote the skilled trades to groups that are currently under-represented in the construction workforce. Post-secondary educators, employers, unions and provincial/territorial governments are expected to collaborate in the effort to make women, disabled people, Indigenous Canadians and newcomers to Canada more aware of career opportunities in the skilled trades.
Female apprentices in skilled trades, categorized as Red Seal trades, could receive up to $6,000 over a two-year period if they are training for employment in a male-dominated field. The budget commits $19.9 million over five years to the incentive program, which potentially tops up the grants of $2,000 already available to all Red Seal apprentices. Currently, less than a handful of the 57 designated trades would be female-dominated or have an even gender split.
An additional $10 million over three years will be directed to programs for mentoring women in skilled trades during their training, while job-seeking and on the jobsite. This complements the Union Training and Innovation Program, launched last year.