MIRAMICHI (GNB) – A new workforce development initiative to support and mentor women and girls in apprenticeable trades in New Brunswick was launched today.
“By having more women enter the workforce, we are strengthening our economy,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “Your government is proud of the achievements of the apprentices who are working to remove barriers for women, and we encourage more women to enter the skilled trades.”
LePage celebrated the successes of women apprentices who received certification in the skilled trades today at the launch of the New Boots: Progressing Women in Trades program.
The program is sponsored by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and led by Mentor Apprentice Program (MAP) Strategic Workforce Services Inc. The program is built on the success of a 30-month pilot project, which followed 18 female apprentices in nine different construction trades through the apprenticeship process.
“Congratulations to the women who are participating in the program to pursue certification in a skilled trade,” said LePage. “Through the partnership with Mentor Apprentice Program Strategic Workforce Services Inc., we aim to better understand the reality and challenges that women face in traditionally male-dominated skilled trades.”
The pilot, which was led in partnership with the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions, was completed in the fall of 2017. Fifteen employers hired women in the construction skilled trades through the pilot. The retention rate was 82 per cent, which was found to be highly dependent upon support such as career exploration, coaching and connection to other female tradespeople, and mentor support.
The resulting program is a provincial networking and resource hub that will promote, support and mentor women and girls in apprenticeable trades. Priority areas of the program include:
- a provincial resource hub for women in skilled trades;
- engaging partnerships with like organizations to reach young girls such as the New Brunswick Teen Apprentice Program; and
- employer engagement.
“Skilled trades careers can offer New Brunswick women a competitive salary, great benefits, flexibility, challenging and rewarding work, however, they need support as the trades are male-dominated occupations,” said Helene Savoie-Louis, MAP’s program co-ordinator for New Boots: Progressing Women in the Skilled Trades.
Removing barriers to access and opportunities is identified as an area of focus in the New Brunswick Family Plan on advancing women’s equality. In addition, the provincial government continues to support initiatives aimed at decreasing the gender wage gap and encouraging women to participate in non-traditional employment opportunities such as the Trades & Tech Career Exploration Dinners for Girls.
The government is focused on advancing women’s equality. It has introduced several new programs to help more parents and women join the workforce, including: free child care for low-income earners and additional financial support for middle-class families with children attending New Brunswick Early Learning Centres; the Free Tuition Program; and Tuition for the Middle Class. The government has completed five pay equity studies in Parts I, II, and II of the public service for female-dominated groups of employees and continues to work with the private sector to help achieve pay equity and advance women’s equality through awareness and education initiatives. It is also working to improve gender balance on provincial agencies, boards and commissions. Between October 2014 and December 2017, the government made 698 appointments to agencies, boards and commissions. Of that number, 390 (56 per cent) were female. In addition, to help more women enter politics, the government amended a funding formula so that votes received by female candidates are weighted 1.5 times greater than votes received by male candidates to provide an incentive for parties to recruit more female candidates.