B.C. government announces $1.8M investment for pilot projects to support women in trades

The B.C. government has announced $1.8 million for programs to support women in trades. File photo.

The B.C. government is putting $1.8 million toward pilot projects aimed at supporting women in trades.

The funding will come from the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Development Agreement and will span two years.

The services and programs include outreach and mentoring for tradeswomen, leadership-development training to improve workplace culture by addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace, campaigns to recognize employers and employer-human resource supports, including a virtual team to help develop customized workplace policies.

Two groups were selected to create the programs, including one led by the BC Construction Association and the other by the BC Federation of Labour.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement after a speech to the BC Building Trades conference in Victoria on International Women’s Day.

“Our construction industry is booming, but we’re facing a shortage of skilled workers in a number of trades,” Premier Horgan said.

“Right now, only five per cent of apprentices in the construction trades are women. Removing barriers to women’s participation will ensure women can get into these good-paying jobs.”

According to the government, fewer than three per cent of working women in the province are in the building trades. A labour-market report released last fall recommended providing women with workplace supports.

Due to retirement and economic development, around 59,000 job openings are expected in the construction trades in B.C. The trades’ occupations that are in-demand include millwrights, heavy-duty mechanics and carpenters.