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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
March 11, 2016
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Government announces support for women to start a career in the trades

BURNABY – The Government of British Columbia announced $1.8 million today for the Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative through the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to help support women to get the skills and training they need to start a career in the trades.

While there are more and more women pursuing trades careers in British Columbia, the percentage of male journeymen is still significantly higher than females. With the addition of nearly one million job openings expected in the province by 2024, women will play an increasingly important role in keeping B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing.

“If we want a strong and vibrant economic future, then it is key that strong and vibrant women help drive it,” Premier Christy Clark said. “A great opportunity for women to help drive the economy is through careers in the skilled trades. And the Women in Trades Training initiative will help give women the support and training they need to succeed.”

Through the Women in Trades Training Initiative, the Industry Training Authority has contracted Camosun College, Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University and Tradeworks Training Society to deliver programs specifically designed to help women kick-start their trades career. These programs provide women with introductory trades training, technical training, an overview of various trade occupations, as well as job-placement support.

These four WITT programs are currently open to applications and will benefit up to 234 female participants when the training concludes in September 2016.

Funding for the Women in Trades Training Initiative is provided through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement under the Employment Services and Supports (ESS) stream. Through the Canada Job Fund, the Government of Canada provides British Columbia with a total of $65 million per year to deliver targeted training programs. The ESS stream is designed to assist British Columbians who are facing barriers in the labour market to develop essential job-readiness skills.


MaryAnn Mihychuck, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour –

“It’s terrific that B.C. and us can work together to help women in trades get the education, skills and training supports they need. We will continue to work with the B.C. government and others to help all Canadians get the skills they need for good quality jobs.”

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training –

“There has never been a better time for women to consider a career in the trades. We are facing incredible economic opportunities and preparing for unprecedented demand for skilled labour over the next decade. Programs like the Women in Trades Training initiative provide women with the support and resources they need to be successful if they choose to pursue a career in the trades.”

Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority –

“There is growing interest in trade careers amongst women in B.C. and the Industry Training Authority is focussed on ensuring that the right resources and tools are in place to foster their curiosities into action.

“ITA, in collaboration with the government,  supports various aspects of the apprenticeship journey, including trades exploration, technical foundation training, resume building, job search and matching, and potential financial support for daycare, tool purchase, and transportation, through the Women in Trades Training funding model. With more women registering to become certified electricians, welders, and carpenters than ever before, the Province is on track to building a diverse, strong, and sustainable trade industry.”

Quick Facts:

  • The ITA’s Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative connects women with funded training opportunities throughout British Columbia, matching the skills of newly trained women with the increasing needs of B.C.’s labour market.
  • Since 2008-09, the WITT program has served more than 3,000 women.
  • There are approximately 4,200 registered women apprentices in the province across 72 different trades.
  • The percentage of women who are registered apprentices in B.C. is at 10.4%, up from 8.5% in 2009.
  • B.C. will have nearly one million job openings by 2024, due to retirements and economic growth.
  • Almost eight out of 10 of these job openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.

Learn More:

Industry Training Authority Women in Trades Training Initiative:

WorkBC resources for women:

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

Media Contact:
Stephen Smart
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
778 389-6202

Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
and Responsible for Labour, British Columbia
250 387-2799

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: