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Meet Andrea Canada, Office to Advance Women Apprentices

What does Empowering Women in Industry mean to you? Women make up half the population yet are underrepresented in many areas, construction definitely being one of them. I am the Project Coordinator in Manitoba for a federally funded project called Office to Advance Women Apprentices. Although at this time there are very few tradeswomen in the industry, the ones that are pushing through and working have shown so much pride in their craft and a real commitment to bringing more women in.

How did you get started in your field? I have been a recruiter and instructor in job readiness for many years. I worked for a large provincial crown corporation to increase the representation of Indigenous people in its workforce. We experienced push back and walls but through leadership commitment at the top of the company and perseverance, I was part of a team that saw many changes in the demographic make up of that company. Today being part of this project, I am hoping to apply some of the same principals and lessons.

What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of? What I love the most is the challenge of being in an industry that really has so few women and knowing that I am part of making real change happen. It is not easy that's for sure. Some employers are open, others only pay lip service to diversity and opening doors to women and others are darn right rude! I am also so very impressed with the young women that are coming out of school with the dedication to become welders, carpenters, boilermakers and mechanics. For this younger generation, the idea that they won't be hired because they are female is so foreign. They believe hard work and skills will get them to their goal. My job is to help open the doors and make that road a little smoother.

What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work? Understand the trade, the physical demands, the culture of the workplace and why you are choosing it. Make sure you have the passion for the work and the determination to reach your goal to become a Red Seal JourneyPerson. It isn't an easy road but it can be extremely rewarding to know that your hands built something amazing.

Anything else to add? I am inspired every day by the work that women are doing to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. To be part of that process fills me with purpose.

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