by Heidi Riley
The 18 members of the graduating class of the 2018 Trade HERizons program, along with their proud families and friends, recently celebrated a new start to their education and employment options.
This is the 8th year for the 11-week Trade HERizons program, which has helped more than 100 women explore careers in trades and technology since it started.
“These graduates are future carpenters, plumbers, electronics technicians, gas turbine technicians, and any other path they end up taking,” says Program Facilitator Jill Olscamp.
“As well as Trade HERizons, Women’s Network also offers programs such as Propelle and WEE (Women’s Economic Empowerment), as well as projects related to childcare, violence against women, youth, women in government, and more,” says Jillian Kilfoil, Executive Director, Women’s Network PEI.
“We support individual tradespeople and employers to increase the number of women in the trades. Better-paying, highly skilled trades jobs fills labour shortages, helps to grow our economy, and helps women, families, and communities.”
“The PEI government is proud to support this initiative,” says Paula Biggar, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women.
“Alumni from this program have gone on to exciting careers in the trades. The trade and technology field is booming and we need a labour force ready to meet the demands. In my previous life, I worked as a carpenter’s assistant in the construction of a church in Tyne Valley. Every time I pass that church today, I am proud to say my initials are on it somewhere.”
Some of the class activities during the program:
- Tour of 12 Holland College Trades and Technology programs in Georgetown, Charlottetown, and Summerside
- Visits to various employers across PEI.
- Guest speakers, such as Canadian Armed Forces, Human Rights, Employment Standards, SkillsPEI, Construction Association of PEI
- Class discussions about financial planning, applying to post-secondary education and apprenticeship, learning styles, conflict resolution, decision making, and action plans
- Essential skills such as reading, writing and document use, and math courses.
“The class took on every opportunity for personal growth and team work, such as the Adventure Group’s ROPES program, which brought the class outside their comfort zone,” says Program Facilitator Kate Dempsey.
Program participant Katie Cunningham
“I first heard about Trade HERizons from someone who was in the program last year. She was so enthusiastic about how the program benefitted her.
“I was continuously surprised at how hard the staff worked to ensure our success. It was such a relief to have this support, as I was coming from a financially tight situation, lacking resources and supplies, and wanting to go to school.
“We all came here with a common purpose: to make a change in our lives. When dreaming of changing one’s career path, it is easy to become overwhelmed because of lack of accessibility, intimidation, and fear of the unknown. I am grateful to now have a long list of resources to refer to, to have explored many aspects of the working world, and have a new sense of self.
“Before this program, I was feeling isolated and powerless. Now I feel much more grounded and ready to move forward. I plan to try not one, but two trades, and I can’t be more excited.”
For more about Trade HERizons and Women’s Network PEI, visit www.wnpei.org/trade-herizons.
Trade HERizons was funded in whole or in part by the Canada-PEI labour market agreements.