OTTAWA, Oct. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - 22 women are well on their way to
rewarding, hands-on careers in the electrical sector after enrolling in
a two-year intensive program earlier this fall.
"The Women into Electrical Engineering Technology (WEET) program at Algonquin College was created because there is a shortage of skilled
electrical workers in Canada, and yet the number of women working in
hands-on roles in the industry is very small," explains Claude Brulé,
Vice President, Academic at Algonquin College. "Statistics Canada
National Household Survey data confirms that, in some trades, men
outnumber women nine to one. Filling that gap - and others in our
labour market - will involve men and women working in non-traditional
roles, and it is that opportunity that WEET aims to create."
WEET, launched at Algonquin College's Ottawa campus, is a two-year
intensive postsecondary program designed for women with degrees or
advanced diplomas in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. It is a
variant of the three-year Electrical Engineering
Technician/Technologist programs the College offers to men and to women
who do not already have a degree or advanced diploma.
"I want to congratulate Algonquin College, Hydro One and the Leacross
Foundation, on Algonquin's new Women into Electrical Engineering
Technology program," says Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. "Programs like
this support our government's plan to create and support jobs while
ensuring we have the electricity and infrastructure we need to power
our homes, schools and the economy."
WEET is about more than simply telling women they should work in the
electrical industry. As the Construction Sector Council noted in their
2010 report "State of Women in Construction in Canada", there are plenty of programs that already do that, stating, "Efforts
to boost the participation of women in construction careers depend on
effective educational and career pathways".
WEET employs a unique female-only cohort model and guarantees the
students a paid work placement with Hydro One, along with other
financial supports provided by the Leacross Foundation. The program is delivered in an intensive format to help the women
avoid repeating courses they had taken previously and allow the women
to enter their industry sooner. The results speak for themselves. Not
only did the program exceed its goal of launching with 18 students, but
it also recruited more women in one year than the College had recruited
into its three-year Electrical Engineering Technology program in the
past four years combined.
"The best chance for success is by establishing creative partnerships,
and that's the opportunity presented to these women enrolled in the
WEET program," says Roslyn Bern, President, Leacross Foundation. "By
providing childcare, transportation, and equipment necessary to focus
in the electrical trades, these women are reaching their potential and
contributing to Canadian society. They become the role models for other
women in their communities, their daughters, and the trade sector. This
program is unique in that it attempts to provide what women have been
asking for to succeed in a male dominated industry - material supports,
current educational skill training along with safe respectful work
environments. This isn't the first of its kind, but the partners are
addressing issues that have prevented women from considering this line
of work as an option before, and creating new dialogues about what is
During today's launch event, student Patti Wunsch spoke about why she
decided to enroll in WEET after hearing a radio advertisement in May.
"The timing couldn't have been better as I had already been considering
a career change and had just learned that the Federal government
division I worked in was being disbanded. WEET was providing me with
the chance to start a new career in an industry that is dynamic and
looking for people.
"Before coming to Ottawa to work as a civil servant, I had worked in the
R&D end of the food industry for 10 years. The most satisfying part of
that job was the mix of hands-on work I did on the bakery floor running
trials and the desk work that allowed me to work with our purchasing
and marketing folks. It also allowed me to report to upper management
on issues that were occurring in the bakeries and impacting our product
lines. I believe that a career as an electrical engineering
technologist will permit me to again find that balance between hands-on
work and desk work, and in doing so will allow me to make a difference
and see tangible results of the work I do. The WEET program has
provided me with an incredible opportunity to build a new career in an
industry that is looking to hire people. If it had not been for the
program, I would not have even considered the electrical industry as a
possible career option."
For more information on the WEET program, visit AlgonquinCollege.com/PowerYourFuture.
About Algonquin College - www.algonquincollege.com:
The mission of Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is to
transform hopes and dreams into skills and knowledge, leading to
lifelong career success. Algonquin College does this by offering
hands-on, digitally connected applied learning in over 185 programs.
Based in Canada's capital, the Ottawa Valley, and Saudi Arabia,
Algonquin College is the largest polytechnic institute in Eastern
Ontario with 20,000 full-time and 43,000 part-time and online
SOURCE: Algonquin College
For further information:
Communications Officer, Algonquin College