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RESCON urges women to pursue a career in skilled trades

March 8, 2023  By Don Horne

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is today marking International Women’s Day by encouraging more women to pursue careers in the skilled trades and calling for employers and governments to continue promoting the industry.

“With the aging workforce and pending retirement of many Baby Boomers, there will be expanding opportunities in the coming years for women looking to work in the construction industry,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall. “We need more women in the industry and must create opportunities for school-aged girls to learn about the possibilities and types of varied careers available in construction. There are a number of initiatives under way to recruit more women.”

RESCON has been working to push back against stereotypes and encourage women to take up careers in the trades. For example, we have been a proud sponsor of the Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades Conference at Durham College for several years. The two-day annual event enables girls in Grades 7 and 8 from several regional school boards to learn about the trades and get hands-on experience working with tools in different workshops.

Through a partnership with George Brown College, RESCON also places several female students each year with employers on residential construction sites. We encourage girls to participate so they can learn more about the sector and find out what types of careers they can pursue in the construction industry.

RESCON has also hosted Women in Construction webinars where women in the trades and professionals discuss topics such as their experiences in the industry and what must be done to recruit and ensure women stay in the skilled trades. Each webinar has attracted almost 250 participants and enabled those in the industry to connect and learn more about how to empower more women to work in the trades.

Presently, women account for less than five per cent of construction workers, yet close to 100,000 construction workers will be needed in Ontario alone by 2030. Women are a critical talent pool, and we must let them know at a young age the skilled trades are a viable career option.

According to BuildForce Canada, women make up only 4.8 per cent of new apprentice registrations. This indicates there are still significant opportunities.

“With the existing labour shortage, we must ensure the industry attracts more women to the construction trades and management,” says Amina Dibe, manager of government and stakeholder relations at RESCON. “There are some rewarding career opportunities available for women in construction. The best way to get more women into the industry is to create an environment where they can gain first-hand experience and become more confident to pursue a career in the sector.”

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