Four women from diverse corners of the construction sector offered a broad range of prescriptions to boost the recruitment and retention of females in the trades during a panel session at the recent Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC) conference in Halifax.
Delegates heard from Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) director of research and program Emily Arrowsmith that the pandemic severely interrupted one cohort of apprentices, with registrations down 27 percent in 2020, and that given weak completion rates, the sector needs to recruit approximately 250,000 apprentices over the next five years to ensure that around 125,000 new journeypersons emerge to meet demand across the Red Seal trades.
“The periodic recruitment challenges we used to have are now becoming a chronic problem, where we just don’t have enough apprentices to meet the potential demand,” said Arrowsmith.
“Completions are expected to slow over this time period…we’re going to have troubles in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada.”
The Sept. 29 session was billed as Recruitment and Retention of the Next Generation.
A general theme was that there have been extensive awareness efforts of the need to recruit workers from underrepresented groups, but beyond the talk, as next steps, stakeholders need to understand what programs are effective and what human resources professionals need to become better communicators.
Panellist Brandi Ferenc is a licensed refrigeration mechanic/gas fitter journeyperson who teaches part-time in the HVAC program at Georgian College, as well as working for Support Ontario Youth as a mentor. She has 20 years of insight into workplace culture.
Related Topics: Construction Skilled Trades Gap Women
This Employment Ontario Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.