Industry Training Authority

Industry Training Authority

March 08, 2012 11:00 ET

The ITA Women in Trades Training Initiative Marks Milestone Participant Numbers on International Women's Day

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 8, 2012) - Industry Training Authority -

Editors Note: There are two (2) photos and one (1) video associated with this news release.

The ITA Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative, funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA) and overseen by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), is marking its fourth year with the milestone of 1,500 women participating in trades training programs across British Columbia.

The Initiative connects women of diverse backgrounds with funded opportunities to pursue non-traditional careers by training to be plumbers, electricians, carpenters, sheet metal workers and other skilled tradespeople.

"By supporting more than 1,500 women through the Women in Trades Training initiative, we're helping them develop the confidence and work-ready skills they need to enter a career in the skilled trades and help meet future labour demands in B.C.," says Jessi Zielke, Director, Strategic Initiatives, ITA.

The increase in female participants comes at a time when B.C. is on the cusp of a major development boom and almost one million jobs are expected to open up over the next ten years. With more skilled tradespeople retiring each year, experts are predicting a skilled labour shortage of 160,000 by 2015.

"With increased economic opportunity comes increased demand for skilled tradespeople in B.C. and employers need to properly prepare for this challenge," says Kevin Evans, CEO, ITA. "By sponsoring a trained apprentice through the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative, employers can tap into the full range of B.C.'s potential workforce to ensure they have the skilled tradespeople they need to remain competitive and successful, both today and tomorrow."

The Women in Trades Training initiative is overseen by ITA, the provincial crown agency responsible for managing B.C.'s industry training and apprenticeship system. The Initiative helps unemployed or employed but low-skilled women become skilled and in-demand tradespeople by offering tuition for training programs, and financial assistance for tools, books and childcare subsidies. It also provides women with general skills upgrading, career counselling, on-the-job training and introductions to potential employers.

"Women in Trades Training gave me the support I needed to pursue a career as a Plumber," says Cathy Minty, Plumber apprentice and single mother of five. "Before I started my training, I was concerned about the cost of tuition and childcare. The Initiative paid my tuition, supplied me with work gear and offered me a transportation allowance and childcare subsidy."

Through the Women in Trades Training initiative, Cathy attended the Piping Opportunities for Women program offered by the Piping Industry Apprenticeship Board (PIAB). After completing the program and finishing her Level 1 technical training, Cathy is now employed as a first-year Plumber apprentice with Black & McDonald in Vancouver and plans to one day become Red Seal certified.

"Becoming a Plumber has changed my life," says Minty. "I have so much more confidence and look forward to conquering new challenges every day. I love coming home with my clothes covered in dirt and dust from the job and telling my kids what I did at work that day - they are so proud of me!"

The ITA Women in Trades Training initiative has received approximately $13 million in funding from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement since 2008. The Initiative currently involves eight projects operated by partner organizations across the province, and is part of a long-term strategy to match the skills of women to B.C.'s labour needs.

Learn more about the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative and how it is helping meet B.C.'s labour demands: www.womenintrades.ca

Additional Quotes:

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation: "As part of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, we are committed to ensuring that British Columbia has the skilled labour force it needs and includes an increasing number of women pursuing trades careers through programs such as ITA's highly successful Women in Trades Training."

Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development: "Our government's top priority is job creation and economic growth. That is why we are proud to work with the Province of BC, through our Labour Market Agreement, to support the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative which will increase the number of women participating in the skilled trades."

Nancy Darling, Administrator, Trades and Apprenticeship, Okanagan College: "As a partner organization, we are proud to see the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative reach the milestone of 1,500 registered participants. We are committed to delivering skilled trades training that offers women increased independence, job satisfaction and higher pay. With B.C.'s growing labour market, there's never been a better time for a woman to pursue a career in the trades."

To view a video of Cathy Minty, first year Plumber apprentice, talking about the ITA Women in Trades Training initiative please visit the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bymJLXPahQc

To view a photo of Cathy Minty, first year Plumber apprentice please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120307-cathy_minty_1.jpg

To view a photo of Cathy Minty, first year Plumber apprentice on the job please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120307-cathy_minty_onthejob_1.jpg

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