VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 20, 2012) - The Industry Training Authority (ITA) today announced $3,303,000 in funding for 2012/13 to support increased participation of women in B.C.'s skilled trades through ITA's Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative. The list of the 2012/13 WITT service providers was also announced.
"With these resources, we're able to continue helping women break through barriers to employment in the trades," says Kevin Evans, CEO of ITA. "This initiative has created opportunities for more than 1,500 women since it was first established in 2008, and we're thrilled to keep the momentum going."
Through the 2012/13 WITT initiative, an estimated 425 women will gain access to trades training programs, complete essential skills and upgrading and receive financial support for childcare, transportation, work gear and tools and equipment. The initiative connects women of diverse backgrounds to trades opportunities across B.C. through partnerships with service providers, unions and industry associations. WITT is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA) and is overseen by ITA.
"We know that a skilled workforce is the foundation of a strong and resilient economy and investments in women's trades training helps build that foundation," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. "The Women in Trades Training program is an innovative way to make sure we are providing opportunities to get people with the right training in the right jobs."
The funding announcement was made at a graduation ceremony honouring nine women who have completed Tradeworks Women's Workshop, a 10-week pre-employment program that introduces women of diverse backgrounds to the world of carpentry and the skilled trades. Tradeworks is one of the named 2012/13 WITT service providers.
"I had always been interested in woodworking but I wasn't sure how to pursue a career in this industry," says Rachel Connor, a mother and past graduate of Tradeworks. "ITA's Women in Trades Training initiative set me on the right track to becoming a qualified skilled tradesperson. I've just completed further training at BCIT and am excited to start my career."
Connor graduated from the Tradeworks pre-apprenticeship skills training program in 2011. The program includes essential skills, upgrading, job readiness training, employment and job placement assistance, technical training, carpentry skills, and basic workplace certificates that will allow the women to enter employment in the trades. Connor has also recently graduated from BCIT's Joinery (Cabinetmaker) Foundation program.
"At Tradeworks, our aim is to empower people with job related education, life skills counseling and job search support," says Arleen Dauncey, Program Coordinator of Tradeworks. "We are thrilled to once again be working with the Industry Training Authority so that we can continue to realize this goal. Now is the time for women to take advantage of B.C.'s growing labour market, and to pursue a career in the skilled trades."
The Industry Training Authority is the provincial crown agency responsible for managing B.C.'s industry training and apprenticeship system. The Women in Trades Training initiative helps unemployed or employed but low-skilled women become skilled and in-demand tradespeople by offering tuition for training programs, and financial assistance for tools, books and childcare subsidies. It also provides women with general skills upgrading, career counselling, on-the-job training and introductions to potential employers.
"Education and training are integral to job creation and economic growth for our country," says Minister Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "Our work with the Province of B.C., through the Labour Market Agreement, allows us to invest in a skilled, flexible and diverse workforce - something we can all take pride in."
WITT has received approximately $16 million in funding from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement since 2008. The initiative currently involves seven programs operated by service providers across the province, and is part of a long-term strategy to match the skills of women to B.C.'s labour needs.
To learn more about the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative and how it is helping meet B.C.'s labour demands, visit http://www.itabc.ca/Page955.aspx. For more information on the 2012/13 service providers, visit www.itabc.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=2712.