Government of Canada helps young women prepare for high-demand and well‑paying jobs in the skilled trades

News release

February 13, 2020              Windsor, Ontario              Employment and Social Development Canada

To keep Canada’s economy strong and growing, workers will need the right skills to fill in-demand and well-paying jobs. The Government of Canada is taking steps to encourage young Canadians facing barriers to explore careers in the trades.Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable
Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced Build a Dream’s Career Exploration Expansion project that aims to attract female high school students to careers in the skilled trades. Approximately 5,000 girls across Canada will benefit from the project. This project received $728,000 through the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program, which encourages all Canadians—particularly Canadians facing barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers, racialized persons, persons with disabilities and youth—to pursue careers in the skilled trades through career exploration, skills training and work experience. More than 10,500 Canadians are expected to benefit from the current projects under the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program. As part of the two-year project, high school-age women will benefit from career expos and exploratory workshops where they can “try a trade” and have access to an online resource where they can connect with professional skilled tradeswomen and learn about supports that will help them start careers in well-paying skilled trades.   


“The new Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program will help equip young Canadian women facing barriers to employment with the foundational skills, knowledge and experience they need to get training and start well-paying careers in the skilled trades. By creating a skilled, diverse and inclusive workforce, our government is strengthening the middle class and creating a more prosperous country.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“Our government’s support for this project with Build a Dream will help Windsor’s young women in high school get ready for good jobs in the skilled trades, build better lives for themselves and make their communities stronger.”

– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour

With an ever-changing workforce, while skilled trades positions go unfilled, there is a need to encourage young women to explore career options they may not have previously considered. Bold action is needed. The Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program provides Build a Dream with the opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders across Canada to create a balanced workforce and a strong economy.”
– Nour Hachem-Fawaz, President and Founder, Build a Dream

Quick facts

  • Funding for the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program started with $6 million in 2018–19 and $10 million per year ongoing thereafter, as announced in Budget 2018.

  • Skilled trades are a key component of the Canadian economy, employing more than 3 million Canadians in rewarding, well-paying jobs (2018 Labour Force Survey).

  • Employers, provinces and territories, learning institutions, unions, community organizations and individuals all have key roles to play in Canada’s continued success in building a skilled, mobile and certified workforce that supports Canada’s labour market.

  • The demand for tradespeople is expected to remain strong. Between 2019 to 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire (Canadian Occupational Projection System, 2019 Projections).

  • Women face barriers to entering the trades, largely due to a lack of mentors, difficulty finding an employer, discrimination and family obligations. Only 9% of Red Seal apprentices are women (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).

  • The average age of starting an apprenticeship is 29 years old (2018 Registered Apprenticeship Information System).

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Ashley Michnowski
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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