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Supporting a pathway to leadership opportunities for women in the skilled trades

January 13, 2023  By Anthony Capkun



January 13, 2023 – The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) launched a program “to empower skilled trades advocates” in June 2022 and, six months later, the group reports it has successfully completed the pilot for the National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades.

“The goal of this program—and other future programs being considered by CAF-FCA—is to support a pathway to leadership opportunities within the skilled trades,” said France Daviault, executive director, CAF-FCA, adding that recruitment, retention, and productivity are positively impacted “when there is equitable decision-making and inclusive leadership in a place of work.”

The pilot program was completed in December of 2022, and saw 14 participants earn a certificate for completing the course.

Guided by subject-matter experts, the program focused on improving knowledge about strategies to mentor, take on leadership roles on the jobsite and within their unions, communicate, resolve conflict, and speak with confidence.

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“With these enhanced skills, tradeswomen can be leaders in their field and make a positive difference for other tradespeople in their community,” says CAF-FCA.

One participant has received a promotion since completing the program, reports CAF-FCA, while another wants to organize a confidence-building workshop for women in her union.

The National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades was developed in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices.

“[It] is evident that, given the correct tools and support for growth and leadership, women will positively impact change and advancement in the trades sector,” said Karen Walsh, Office to Advance Women Apprentices. “As women leaders embrace equity, diversity and inclusion, their leadership style will influence how apprentices act on-the-job, leading to more supportive and safe workplaces for all employees.”

The next cohort for National Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades starts February 13.


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