Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ms Skills - From the Executive Director

Hello Ontario:
It’s International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world and the triumphs we’ve achieved, while recognizing the challenges and important goals that lie ahead.  At Skills Canada-Ontario, we’re proud to offer many women’s initiatives that show young girls the world of opportunity that is open to them in the skilled trades and technologies.  

Our Skills Work!® for Women Networking Dinners, give female secondary students the opportunity to chat with skilled tradeswomen in a casual environment.  Participants speak to female mentors working in all five major sectors – construction, industrial, motive power, service and technology – and leave with the knowledge that there are many more post-secondary options than they had probably ever considered before. 

Similarly, our Young Women’s Conferences, offered as part of the Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC), give girls lots of information, as well as inspiration and confidence, to think about how they can pursue one of the more than 150 rewarding skilled trade careers that are available today.  These day-long conferences feature presentations, networking, lunch, and a tour of the OTSC.

Together with Women in Nuclear (WiN) Canada, we were pleased to launch a publication last November that identifies and refutes some of the misconceptions that surround women working in the skilled trades. This report, Womenworking in the Skilled Trades Myths and Realities, is available as a downloadable PDF in the Resources section of our website; I invite you to have a look!

On International Women’s Day, let’s commend the trailblazing women who worked in skilled trades careers back in the “old days,” when these were thought of as jobs for men.  They proved that, as Ann Nesbitt of Bruce Power says, “They’re not masculine skills, they’re just skills.”  Though there may still be some barriers in perception to be broken down, the sky is the limit for young women wishing to embrace the opportunities that exist in these satisfying and worthwhile careers.  Happy International Women’s Day to you all!

Gail Smyth