Skilled trades workers are in high demand. The industry is dominated by male workers, but a critical labour shortage over the next decade presents opportunities for systemic change. Despite the skilled trades offering well-paid and valuable employment opportunities, just one in ten 15-year-old students are committed to pursuing a trades career, and women with intersectional identities, such as racialized women, youth, and gender non-conforming people, continue to be underrepresented. This project aims to tackle the challenges that women in male-dominated Red Seal trades face, many of which are systemic in nature. With broad-based partnerships with employers, unions, and other non-profit organizations, Build a Dream aims to address these challenges for women in the Red Seal trades, including but going beyond the three trades that are in high demand in both manufacturing and construction. The project aims to enhance access to mentors, role models, and support networks for women entering or already in the Red Seal trades by facilitating grassroot women-led events, promote Red Seal trades careers and events through social media, and organize nation-wide Professional Development weekends to provide in-person networking opportunities. Each participating woman can access a career coach who provides individualized employment support, including supports to address on-the-job issues, supports to apply for financial aids and other wrap-around services, and coaching and mentoring to strengthen labour market outcomes. Parallel to these services are pilot programs to strengthen employer capacity to onboard, retain, and advance women apprentices on their crews. Leveraging Build a Dream’s network of industry exemplars, we aim to partner with construction contractors to design, pilot-test, and evaluate flexible and inclusive workplace practices, including flexible work hours, inclusive hiring and advancement practices, and inclusive formal and informal crew communications. We aim to build case studies demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of these practices to encourage other employers to make concrete steps toward diversity and inclusivity, contributing to sectoral changes. SRDC leads the evaluation of this initiative, designing and implementing a strategy that includes implementation research and outcome evaluation. We aim to work with partners to disseminate project findings to employers, unions, training organizations, community organizations, and other sectoral stakeholders to share knowledge, discuss best practices and lessons learned, and inform future initiatives on a larger scale, contributing to sustainable support for women in the Red Seal trades.
Capability: Program Evaluation/ Performance Measurement
Policy Area: Workplace Diversity and Inclusion - Employment Supports and Services