You can only be what you can see ‘: CAF offers leadership training for women

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The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) will launch a new program in June to provide leadership training and development opportunities for women in the trades.

The National Pilot Leadership Development Program for Women in the Skilled Trades will be officially unveiled at the Supporting Women in the Trades conference June 2-3, 2022 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador .

“The purpose of this program is really to provide additional leadership training and development opportunities for women already working in the trades,” France Daviault, CAF CEO, told Daily Commercial News. “One of the things that we have noticed is that there is a gap in the possibilities for women to grow and advance in the sector in which they find themselves.

“We will start to receive applications and our goal is to launch the first pilot cohort in September 2022,” added Daviault. “We want to start small, so we think we’re going to have between 13 and 15 participants. “

Over the years, the CAF has done a great deal of research on the recruitment and retention of women in the skilled trades. Through consultations, they determined there was a need for a program for women who have previously worked as apprentices or who are in their final year of apprenticeship or who are working as journeypersons, Daviault said.

One of the many obstacles women face is the lack of women in leadership positions.

“You can only be what you can see,” Daviault said. “If we’re trying to target young girls to go into the skilled trades and care about careers, they need to see women who are doing well and in leadership positions.

Developed in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, the program will be accessible to all tradeswomen, including Indigenous people, LGBTQ2S + people, immigrant women, people with disabilities and those from racialized groups. The program is open to all women and to those who identify with or have had an experience as women or who are non-binary individuals.

“If we want to retain women in the trades, we want to make sure that the industry offers them an opportunity to grow,” explained Daviault. “If women see themselves in leadership positions in an industry where they are under-represented, it will affect change. We hope this program will give women the tools to become these leaders.

In the program, which will be offered free to tradespeople and will be led by subject matter experts, participants will learn effective leadership strategies.

“This program is about effective communication and conflict resolution. So anyone who works in a workplace, especially women who work in workplaces that are sometimes not very female friendly, this can be an opportunity to learn how to deal with this, how. defend your interests and those of others, ”Daviault said. .

Online training and skills development will cover areas of conflict resolution, being a good mentor, principles of leadership, supervision and management 101.

CAF recently completed the Participant’s Guide which outlines the requirements and lesson plans for each of the modules.

“You have a certain number of hours as a participant to complete the module. . . but each module will have a two hour virtual meeting with all participants and a facilitator to review what they have learned, ”explained Daviault. “What we are currently working on is to have a mentor for each module, a woman who works in the profession, who knows the discipline well in particular, whether it is communication or supervision.

CAF is looking for women to nominate to join the program.

“When women apply, they can be nominated by an employer, a union training center, they can also introduce themselves, but we really want references from employers who say ‘this person really expresses a desire for management or to be a supervisor on the construction site or at the union. We really want to help this person achieve their goals, ”she said.

The idea for the program was developed some time ago and CAF consulted with industry stakeholders.

“The last thing you want is to create something that no one will see of value,” she said. “We already have stakeholders calling us and emailing us to see when they can put their participants on a list. “

In conjunction with the program, CAF plans to create a national speaker bureau for women in the trades.

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