RRC Polytech is partnering with the CWB Welding Foundation to remove barriers for women pursuing careers in the trades, by introducing the Women of Steel™: Forging Forward Program.
The tuition-free offering will foster personal growth and confidence by providing experiential learning for anyone who identifies as female and is interested in exploring welding or working in other welding-related skilled trades.
“Creating more pathways and opportunities for women and members of equity-deserving groups in our community to pursue rewarding and prosperous careers in the skilled trades industry is a key priority for RRC Polytech, and for our industry partners,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO.
“We are proud to be one of 14 hosts for the Women of Steel™ program in Canada and to partner with the CWB Welding Foundation, because by working together, we are pushing for progress, removing barriers to access and participation in the welding industry, and reinforcing the fact that a career in the trades is one that anyone and everyone can enjoy and excel at.”
Women of Steel™ runs May 1 to Aug. 25, with in-person training to be hosted at RRC Polytech’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre. The 17-week pre-employment program (15 weeks of training, two of work placements) will deliver practical theory, hands-on welding training and skills development in a safe and supportive environment.
Shorter training periods will be used to familiarize participants with a number of welding processes, giving them the ability to obtain multiple CWB welding qualifications in various positions and making them ready for apprenticeship, post-secondary and employment.
As more skilled tradespeople are looking to retire locally and across the country, the pending labour gap continues to grow and opportunities for a career in the industry are countless. Welding and welding fabrication provide a gateway to skilled trades and other related professions and offer a well-paying, stable career choice with many options for women.
“There is a constant demand for skilled welders and tradespeople in Southern Manitoba, so the manufacturing sector is excited to see a proactive approach to try and alleviate some of that pressure,” says Audrey Wiebe, COO of Morden-based Maverick Industries.
“Adding a supportive program that encourages more women to pursue the trades will not only shift the current industry demographics towards equality but increase the available talent overall — which in turn allows businesses like ours to increase productivity, take on more projects and help propel the province forward.”
All those who identify as a woman, including those from racialized or marginalized groups such as Indigenous, Black, newcomers, 2SLGBTQIA+, women with disabilities, or those with a prolonged detachment from the labour force, are encouraged to apply.
Applicants to the program, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Women Employment Readiness Pilot Program, will be invited to attend a virtual information session where they will receive more details regarding assessment and admission procedures.