by Stacy Dunn
The Office to Advance Women Apprentices marked its first anniversary on PEI in October. The office assists in improving employment outcomes for women in skilled trades by:
- Addressing barriers limiting women’s entry, advancement, and completion of apprenticeship in Red Seal construction trades
- Developing and maintaining a registry database to help track and connect women to trades employment
- Providing wrap-around supports including career services, employment supports, and networking opportunities
- Coaching and mentoring employers and apprentices
- Providing workshops to prepare tradeswomen to write their Red Seal exam
- Helping women to consider trades and take steps to explore the many options
The Office to Advance Women Apprentices has offices in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and on PEI. The PEI office recently welcomed Joan Paynter as their new Project Coordinator. The Kensington native just returned from Alberta, where she spent years working as a Journeyperson.
The original Project Coordinator, Cheryl McNeill will be staying on with the office as a consultant to continue supporting an initiative that is dear to her heart!
“I am a Red Seal Parts Technician and I was a Mechanic in the Canadian Armed Forces for 11 years,” Joan says. “In my 27-year career, I worked in non-traditional trades alongside both men and women and have seen the barriers others face. I have experienced being held back and I worked through barriers myself.”
“In our first year on PEI, we were successful in connecting women to 30 employment opportunities,” says Karen Walsh, Executive Director of the office. Karen is based out of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the office was formed 11 years ago.
Before COVID-19 restrictions, Office to Advance Women Apprentices held open houses and other networking sessions at their Charlottetown office on John Yeo Drive. Now events are held online and are promoted through social media and through partnerships with other trades organizations.
“Our website has been updated to include success stories of local women in trades and companies who support the office’s vision and goals,” Karen says.
Funded through the Federal Government’s Women in Construction Fund.