Cara, who took the Journeywoman Starts program through Women Building Futures, is enjoying the success that comes from having a great work ethic, a positive attitude, and being a proud member of a team.

You got this: Women build futures – and trades community – in Central Alberta

Open house at Red Deer College Sept. 17 for women’s trades training

Cara is a mother to three beautiful girls. Before her program at Women Building Futures, she worked for a charter bus company. Despite working hard in her role, Cara was not getting ahead and it was taking a toll on her both mentally and physically. During a visit to Alberta Works to explore her options, she was directed to Women Building Futures to attend an information session. Shortly after, Cara applied to a WBF’s Journeywoman Start program, met the qualifications, and successfully completed her training.

Cara started her journey in ironworking and has recently transitioned her skills to sheet metal. She attributes her success to having a great work ethic, a positive attitude, and being a proud member of a team. The proudest moment for Cara has been seeing her confidence transfer to her three girls.

“This opportunity has completely changed the trajectory of my life. I know I made the right decision and feels like the sky is the limit.”

Recognizing that trades are a place where women succeed every day – and now more often than ever – the Edmonton-based Women Building Futures is taking the success grown over the last 20 years and expanding to Red Deer with its flagship Journeywoman Start program.

“This has been a very successful program for us – it’s a really exciting time for Women Building Futures and Central Alberta women wanting to pursue a career in the trades,” says Tammy Forbes, Director, Communications and Government Relations.

The full-time, 12-week pre-apprenticeship program blends both classroom and hands-on skills development training that introduces five Red Seal trades recognized as apprenticeships in Alberta: Welding, Carpentry, pipefitting, electrical and plumbing. Classes run weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., preparing women for a successful career and providing the jumpstart to an entry-level role in the construction and maintenance industry.

With exceptional relationships forged with industry and local businesses, the program also enjoys a 90 per cent employment rate – women are working in the industry within six months of graduation, says Forbes, noting close to 1,700 women have moved through the program, ranging in age from 19 to their mid-50s.

“It’s life-changing the them, and when omen see other women succeed, it takes that fear out of it.”

Program is good for business

Women aren’t the only ones who benefit from Women Building Futures.

“When partners say they want to hire one of our grads, it’s because of the training we offer,” Forbes says.

“We know we’re coming into a labour crunch and women are the biggest untapped labour demographic,” she adds, encouraging businesses that would like to connect with the program to get in touch. “We have found that encouraging underemployed women in the trades isn’t only a good thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”

Open house Tuesday, Sept. 17

Join Women Building Futures for an open house at Red Deer College Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. to learn more about the program, connect with alumni and tour workshops. Registration is not required but a presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. and workshop tours will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The application deadline for the Red Deer program is Oct. 3, with classes beginning Jan. 6.

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