The CWB (Canadian Welding Bureau) Welding Foundation has launched its “Women of Steel: Forging Forward” initiative.
The program provides learning opportunities that foster education, personal growth, confidence, and experiential learning for women interested in exploring welding and other welding-related skilled trades careers.
The project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning Literacy and Essential Skills – Women’s Employment Readiness Program with a $4 million federal contribution, which allowed the Foundation to expand its Women of Steel Program, first introduced in April 2019. The new program targets anyone who identifies as a woman and/or non-binary, including those from racialized or marginalized groups such as Indigenous, Black, newcomers, LGBTQ2S, women with disabilities, or with a prolonged detachment from the labour force.
The program will be delivered over 64 weeks from June 2022 to August 2023, across Canada.
“The Women of Steel: Forging Forward Program aims to increase the number of women in welding and joining, fabrication and other skilled trades. It will provide welding training and support for women with sustainable career options while increasing their economic security.” said Susan Crowley, Executive Director, CWB Welding Foundation. “Women in the program will benefit from wrap around supports such as childcare, transportation, mental health, wellness supports, cultural competencies, employment preparation and counseling sessions.”
The pre-employment program includes practical theory, hands-on welding training, and skills development with a flexible schedule to balance responsibilities. Short training periods will be used to train the participants in several welding processes, with the ability to obtain up to eight CWB welding qualifications in various positions with multiple processes making graduates ready for apprenticeship, post-secondary, and employment. The program features a Workplace Inclusivity Program that will help improve access, retention, and the advancement of women in welding, fabrication, and other professions.
Employers are a key partner in this project, CWB says, and will be involved in all aspects of the program. As well, a mentorship program will be designed to support women at all stages in their careers. A social media campaign strategy highlighting Women of Steel Ambassadors will raise awareness of this initiative, increase networking opportunities from early through advanced career stages, while breaking down barriers and reducing the stigma attached to STEM and skilled trades careers.
As more skilled tradespeople are looking to retire, the pending gap continues to grow, and opportunities for a career in the industry are countless. Welding, and welding fabrication provides a gateway to skilled trades and other related professions, and offers a well-paying, stable career choice with many options for women, CWB says.
To find out more go to: www.cwbweldingfoundation.org