Thompson Rivers University is inviting women to learn a trade in 100 Mile House.
TRU will be offering a new Women in Trades exploratory program at its local satellite campus from July 5 to Sept. 9. The course is modelled on similar ones offered twice a year at the Kamloops campus, said Marie Weisbeck, TRU’s community education coordinator for 100 Mile House.
Although this is the first time it’s being held in 100 Mile, TRU has offered programs funded by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for women in trades for more than 10 years, Weisbeck said.
”At this point, TRU does have the highest number of females per capita participating in trades programming in the province, specifically in electrical and welding,” she added.
The course will focus on four different trades: carpentry, welding, electrical and mechanical. About 80 per cent of the course will be hands-on practical work, and the rest theory.
The course will take 12 students, whose studies will be fully funded up to $6,000, thanks to government funding and grants from the ITA, said Meghan Low, TRU’s RBC Women in Trades coordinator. Eight of the spots have already been filled.
“This course is meant to introduce women to trades to give them a bit of a feel for what a career or education in trades could be like,” Low said. “We have found programs like this have a 90 to 95 per cent success rate, over the last 12 years, in introducing women into a trades education or employment in a trade.”
Just five per cent of all construction workers in B.C. identify as female, Low said. In addition to free tuition, the funding covers personal protective equipment, eight trades tickets including first aid, and textbooks, parking and a daycare allowance.
Low noted there is an unprecedented skill shortage facing the industry across the province, with a predicted shortage of 27,000 skilled workers by 2025.
“The youngest who’s come into one of our exploratory programs is 17, the eldest was 72. These are skills you can take with you to use in your day to day life if you need to do minor home details and renovations,” Law said. “These are skills that will build you up to a future job whether it’s in trades or not.”
Registration can be done online through tru.ca/wit or by reaching out to Weisbeck at 250-395-3115 or email@example.com.
Applicants must be Canadian citizens, plan to stay in B.C. after the program ends, be seriously considering further education in the trades and be either unemployed or in an employment field which does not have a lot of opportunities for growth.