Sudbury, ON — Cambrian College hosted its annual Jill of All Trades conference, bringing girls from Grades 7 to 12 to learn about a potential career in the skilled trades. According to Statistics Canada, only five per cent of skilled trades workers in Canada are women. The event was held on Oct. 27.
“There is a significant labour shortage in the skilled trades, and gender is no barrier to filling those positions. These careers pay very well, and we want more young women to take advantage of the opportunities available in the skilled trades, now and in the foreseeable future,” said Paula Gouveia, Cambrian’s vice president of academics.
The one-day event attracted 150 elementary and secondary students from across Sudbury. Students were able to get hands-on experience in several skilled trades career activities which included automotive service, carpentry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, heating and air conditioning, heavy-duty equipment, mechatronics, millwright, mining engineering, powerline, and welding and metal fabrication.
The event featured a panel discussion which consisted of women currently working or preparing for careers in the skilled trades. The hour-long discussion addressed the panellists’ experience in the labour industries and also the challenges and opportunities they faced.
“Supplementing a male-dominated industry with the incredible women that we have could help alleviate some of the shortage. It’s about shifting the norms so that it doesn’t become a diversity hire. We can exceed those boundaries and those challenges and overcome that worldview. We have a place and we can make our mark and become the leaders that we know we can be,” said Lea Willemse, the smelter environmental superintendent at Glencore.
Jill of All Trades is a one-day event developed by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and hosted across the country by various educational institutions and organizations. In addition to the Sudbury event, the Jill of All Trades event was held at Centennial College on October 12 and at Conestoga College on October 26.
The next Jill of All Trades event will occur on Nov. 29, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.