HALIFAX, July 23, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada's changing economy and investments in infrastructure make skills training critical to our future. The Government recognizes the importance of building a diverse workforce and supporting women so they can launch careers in high-demand construction trades.
Today, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax (Nova Scotia), announced on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, funding of over $2.5 million to the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency for its Advancing Women in Apprenticeship project. As part of this project, 40 women will benefit from increased awareness of the skilled trades as a first-choice career for women, employer-specific training, and support to find and retain employment in well-paying, high demand construction trades. Participants will include women from diverse communities, including African Nova Scotians, Indigenous people and newcomers.
This is an Atlantic-wide project funded through the Women in Construction Fund, which supports projects building on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the construction trades. These include mentoring, coaching and tailored supports that help women to progress through their training and find jobs. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is managing the project on behalf of the Atlantic Apprenticeship Council, which is made up of the four Atlantic Apprenticeship authorities.
Approximately 2,800 women are expected to benefit from the Women in Construction Fund, which is receiving funding of $10 million over three years, starting in 2018–19.
Employers, provinces and territories, learning institutions, unions, community organizations and individuals all have key roles to play in Canada's continued success in building a skilled, mobile and certified workforce that supports Canada's labour market.
"The skilled trades represent high-quality, well-paid, middle‑class jobs that are critical to Canada's economic growth. By funding this project, we are building a more diverse construction workforce, providing women with the necessary support to launch well-paying careers in in-demand construction trades."
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"Our government's support for this project with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency will help women in the Atlantic Provinces become ready for good jobs in trades, build better lives for themselves and make their communities stronger."
– Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax (Nova Scotia)
- Young women continue to be less likely than young men to express interest in a career in the skilled trades. According to an OECD survey, only 2 percent of 15-year-old female students indicated they were planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades, and were more likely to be discouraged by their parents from pursuing a trade career than male students.
- Women's representation in Red Seal trades where women are under-represented was at 5 percent in 2017.
- Women are concentrated in the three lowest-paying trades: bakers, cooks and hairstylists.
The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding, such as for Union Training and Innovation Program projects.
Women in Construction Fund
Budget 2018 announced the Women in Construction Fund with an investment of $10 million over three years to increase the participation of women in construction trades by helping them progress through their training and retain jobs in the trades.
The Women in Construction Fund, which is expected to benefit approximately 2,800 women over three years, supports projects that target the construction trades and focus on:
- attracting and recruiting women into the trades (e.g. site visits, hands-on experiences and career exploration);
- supporting apprentice training and skills development through upgrading of essential skills and a continuum of tailored services for women (e.g. child care, transportation, purchase of tools, coaching and mentoring); and
- supporting employers by developing recruitment and retention tools and supports based on best practices for inclusive and respectful workplaces.
A wide range of organizations and partnerships are eligible for the program, including women's non‑profit organizations, employer and industry associations, unions, training providers, and provinces and territories.
Three-year projects were solicited in 2018 through a targeted solicitation process with a wide range of organizations and partners eligible for this program. Projects are currently underway.
Union Training and Innovation Program
Through a $25 million annual investment, the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP):
- helps union improve the quality of training through investments in up-to-date training equipment and materials;
- supports innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes; and
- reduces barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women and Indigenous people.
The Program has two streams and is open to all unions representing workers in the Red Seal trades, including those that do not provide training recognized by provinces and territories as technical apprenticeship training, and those that do not operate training facilities:
- The Investments in Training Equipment Stream (Stream 1) helps unions purchase new and up-to-date training equipment. Continuous technological change puts pressure on training providers to ensure workers are developing the right skills needed on the job site.
- The Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream (Stream 2) focuses on innovative approaches to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes, including barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups such as women and Indigenous people. This stream is open to a range of stakeholders and partners, but unions need to be involved, either as the lead or as a partner on projects.
The Government has approved 109 UTIP projects, including 34 in 2017–18 and 75 in 2018–19.
Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program
Budget 2018 announced the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness (STAR) program to encourage Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.
The Program supports pre-apprenticeship training, including:
- Career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the trades as a viable, good‑quality careers through means such as "try a trade" events, career fairs, job shadowing and mentorships.
- Skills training to help participants upgrade their essential skills, such as literacy and numeracy, and technical skills so they are ready for apprenticeship training.
- Work experience to explore the trades with hands-on job experience, form connections with employers, and increase employment readiness.
Projects were solicited in 2018 through a targeted solicitation process with a wide range of organizations eligible for this program. To date, the Government has approved 9 STAR projects.
To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed in Budget 2019, additional new investments:
- $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020–21, and $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider training and work in the skilled trades;
- $6 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
- a new Apprenticeship Strategy to ensure that existing supports and programs available to apprentices address the barriers faced by those who want to work in the skilled trades and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
- a lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans, starting in 2019–20, and making the first six months after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training interest-free; and
- the new Canada Training Benefit, which would give workers money to help pay for training, provide income support during training, and offer job protection so that workers can take the time they need to keep their skills relevant and in demand.
Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Grants, almost 846,000 grants have been issued to Canadians, representing over $1 billion in funding. This includes:
- over 599,100 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants;
- 2,100 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants for Women; and
- 244,700 Apprenticeship Completion Grants.
As Canada's economy continues to grow and create good, well-paying jobs, the Government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians share in and benefit from this success.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
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