Solving a trades shortage - Add more women
Is your small community struggling to find qualified tradespeople? Are you looking for someone to do some work for you or are you a business owner, hunting for certified employees?
Recently Canada’s federal government announced a call for proposals from organizations that train and support folks from underrepresented groups (including women) in the trades and non-traditional professions. According to the latest research, just 5% of registered trades people (which does include hairstyling and esthetics) are women.
Michele Vindum approached me about a call she put out for female roofers and how that grew into a movement and the creation of a group of women roofers called Summit Sisters. This got me thinking about other non-traditional professions that women work in across Canada.
This conversation includes a researcher, based out of Newfoundland and Labrador, a female fish harvester, also based in Newfoundland and Labrador, a woman exterminator that decided to go into business for herself and Michele, an ecological farmer in Eastern Ontario.
They all talk about the experience of women in nontraditional roles and some of the reasons why women hesitate to go into the industries, also how women still struggle to be treated as equals both by their peers and by their employers, leading many women to go into business for themselves.
The researcher is Heather Elliott.Sheis a former heritage worker and current graduate student who resides in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Originally from Ontario, Heather grew up fascinated with ships and shipwrecks, always eager to learn about why people went to sea for a living. She started the blog Original Shipster in 2011 to share her love of Canadian maritime history. Currently, she is completing her Master's degree in sociocultural anthropology on gender and the maritime sector, investigating how someone's gender presentation impacts their life at work. She found a variety of ways that gender shapes not only physical, but the audio spaces that surround individuals, and that these experiences are quite different between men and women.
Jasmine Paulis a fish harvester on Placentia Bay Newfoundland and based out of Come by Chance. She refers to MUN, which is the Memorial University of Newfoundland, a place where she studied her Bachelor of Arts and occasionally teaches.
Suzy Rayneris the owner/operator of Valkyrie Pest Solutions in Gimli, Manitoba. She began her career in pest management 8 years ago after experiencing bed bugs and cockroaches in her own residence. Pest control quickly became a passionate career. Suzy found that she seemed to give her customers something that set her apart; was it her lived experience with pests or was there something different in her approach as a woman?
Michele Vindum is the owner of Plainfield Heritage Farm in Eastern Ontario. She talked about the Summit Sisters and Samanntha De Coteau.Michele is an ecological farmer, former Social Worker who specialized in violence against women. Michele sought to use her need for a new roof as a venue to promote women in the non-traditional trades. 13 women came from across canada to do her roof.
Since this interview, I came across something called KickAss Careers which encourages Canadian women to learn about and engage in a long list of trades.