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Op/Ed: Women in trades blaze new trails in B.C.

John Horgan
By John Horgan
January 31st, 2020

There was a time, not long ago, when the idea of what counted as “women’s work” was much more limited than it is today.

When I heard about a young machinist from Delta, B.C. named Chelsea, I wanted to learn more about her path into the trades.

As a kid, Chelsea looked up to her father and brother who both work in the trades. Hanging out with her dad in his home workshop was her favourite thing to do, and she jumped at the chance to help fix things around the house. In high school, Chelsea was struggling to find her fit and figure out what kind of career she wanted. That’s when her mom, who works as an employment counsellor, suggested Chelsea consider doing what she loves – working with her hands, honing her skills and learning a craft.

While the trades were once considered “men’s work,” Chelsea’s mom knew that’s changing with more and more women joining the sector, and Chelsea could carve out a good career in the trades. Now that Chelsea is a Red Seal machinist, she wants other women to know there’s room for them in the trades, too.

A good job is more than a pay cheque. It’s work you can feel a sense of pride in. A good job can make all the difference – it means building a better life for you and your family and planning a brighter future. That’s what Chelsea has found in the forest industry. She says there’s no better feeling than seeing new buildings being constructed and thinking, “I helped make that.” She loves being a part of building our province.

Our government is investing a record $26 billion over three years to build B.C., including new hospitals, schools, bridges and roads. We’ve also facilitated the largest private-sector investment in B.C.’s history with the LNG Canada project in Kitimat.

These investments are creating tens of thousands of good jobs all around the province. We’re working to help people access these jobs as carpenters, electricians, renewable energy technicians, and much more.

Breaking down barriers to post-secondary education and skills training is key to getting more people working in the trades. We’re investing millions in programs that provide opportunities for women to access pre-apprenticeship training, apprenticeship services and employment. We’re funding a program to help survivors of abuse access supports and skills training. And we’re making education more accessible and affordable for all.

WorkBC is a resource that connects people to employment services to help people find the right job for them, no matter their age, ability or background. For people like Chelsea who might be struggling to find their fit, WorkBC can help them explore career options, expand their skills and find good jobs close to home.

Going into the trades wasn’t something Chelsea grew up dreaming about, but it’s where she found her passion. We’re working to break down barriers to help more women discover the trades and find their dream job. Chelsea represents the next generation of skilled workers in British Columbia – a diverse group of people, working together to build a strong B.C.    

Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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