August 18, 2021
The Manitoba government is investing more than $600,000 to partner with the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) to deliver a multi-faceted, skilled-trades training initiative for Indigenous women in four northern and remote communities, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for status of women, Economic Development and Jobs Minister Jon Reyes, and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere announced today.
“Our government is committed to advancing economic equality for women by supporting programs and initiatives that help more women succeed in non-traditional work industries that provide sustainable and reliable employment opportunities, and help to support healthy and vibrant communities,” said Cox. “We are proud to partner with industry leaders and Indigenous and northern communities to provide these unique and forward-thinking programs that will play an important part of Manitoba’s post-pandemic social and economic recovery.”
This targeted training initiative provides an opportunity for Indigenous women to acquire valuable skills in a supportive environment, and includes ongoing mentorship during training and throughout their careers in the skilled trades, Cox noted. The training initiative was designed in collaboration with the construction industry, and includes career exploration, targeted training, mentorship and ongoing career support. Training will be delivered by MCSC in framing, water and waste-water installation and blast hole drilling, which are all skills that are in high demand.
“This project is important as it provides opportunity – opportunity for Indigenous women to learn a skilled trade and opportunity for employers to access a diverse group of qualified women to become part of their workforce,” said Terri Urban, health and safety manager, Parkwest Projects Ltd., and board member, MCSC. “The board of the MCSC and their partner associations, the Winnipeg Construction Association, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, Manitoba Home Builders Association and First People’s Development Inc., recognize the importance of providing opportunity to a diverse group to learn a skilled trade.”
The four communities chosen to participate in these programs are Pinaymootang First Nation, Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Dakota Tipi First Nation and York Landing, with training already underway in Pinaymootang and Pimicikamak.
“It is important to provide Indigenous women the tools, training and support they need to build a career in a field with good-paying jobs, employee benefits and job security, which is often hard to acquire in northern and remote communities,” said Lagimodiere. “Targeted job training for Indigenous women is critical for the advancement of economic reconciliation, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and will help to improve the lives of Indigenous women, their families and the communities they live in.”
Training begins with a three-week job readiness course and includes safety training certification from the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba and a one-day workshop on women in the trades.
“In this time of economic recovery, it is more important than ever critical to attract, support and retain workers in the skilled trades, particularly in the north where there are multiple active construction projects and employers have identified a skilled worker shortage in the area,” said Reyes. “Our government is committed to investing in post-secondary and skills training programs that align with the workforce needs of our province, today and into the future.”
More than 8,000 skilled workers are expected to retire in Manitoba this year, and there are currently not enough skilled labourers to take over these jobs. There is a need to replace an aging workforce in the skilled trades, Reyes said.
“The Indigenous Women in Construction initiative will bring career awareness, industry engagement and MITT-accredited construction skills training to women living in remote Indigenous communities across Manitoba,” said Carol Paul, executive director, MCSC. “MCSC is working in partnership with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, which will continue to engage with and support the women participating in this program through their trades training and career journey. These women are the future of construction in the north.”
For more information on the Manitoba Construction Sector Council, visit https://mbcsc.com/.
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