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Canadian Apprenticeship Forum develops mentorship program for women in the skilled trades

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This new program will be offered free of charge to participants from across Canada. Adobe Stock Images

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) has launched the National Mentor Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades to offer online programming to develop and enhance mentorship skills for women and gender-diverse individuals in the trades. This virtual, 4-month program is facilitated by subject matter experts in collaboration with tradeswomen coaches from the manufacturing and construction sectors. The program will be offered free of charge to participants from across Canada.

Tradeswomen identified the need for a program of this type. At its inaugural Supporting Women in Trades Conference in 2018 and its subsequent conferences in 2019 and 2022, CAF-FCA consulted with over 300 tradeswomen to identify their specific needs. Tradeswomen identified mentorship as one of their top priorities. They recommended, establishing and maintaining mentoring programs for women in the trades where experienced tradeswomen mentor and guide those just starting their careers. Research also supports the creation of this program due to the retention barriers women experience in the trades. The rate of program completion is significantly higher for male apprentices in most of the Red Seal trades, with heavy-duty equipment technicians reporting the largest gender gap (29 percent) followed by industrial mechanics (millwright, 27 percent), and plumbers (26 percent). According to the National Apprenticeship Survey, women are more likely than men to identify discrimination as the reason why they left an employer.

By creating this program, CAF-FCA is addressing a priority for tradeswomen. Through research and extensive consultations with tradeswomen, CAF-FCA and its partners understand training best practices and have created a program shaped to meet apprentice needs.

Those who are interested in applying to be a participant or a coach can apply at: https://leadership.caf-fca.org/

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