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'I liked the sound of it'
As sawdust flew from a board safely and securely fastened to a vice at Memorial Composite High last Thursday morning, Baillie McAskill no doubt imagined a future career in the carpentry trade.
Similar thoughts of trade-related careers were likely on the mind of Gabby Forrest a few tables over just after assembling a tool box made of wood.
Both were among 56 young women in Grades 7-10 from around Cape Breton participating in the Skilled Futures for Women initiative, presented by Skills Canada-Nova Scotia.
As part of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week, the program works to expose young women to interactive trade and technology workshops.
The day wasn’t exactly an introduction for Forrest, who has built things before, but she enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
“I was hoping I would get this one,” said Forrest. “Me and my dad usually build things in the backyard. He would help me sand it and we used to make walking sticks."
McAskill has some experience in the trades, too.
At her school, she works in wood shop, but last Thursday’s session helped to give her a better idea of what a career in the trades might look like.
“I liked the sound of it, I don’t know how else to explain it,” said the T.L. Sullivan student, when asked why she chose to look into the carpentry trade during the event.
Student participants in the workshops chose two trades to investigate out of a list that included automotive services, carpentry, culinary arts, electrical installations, graphic design, heavy duty equipment repair, plumbing, power plant technician (facilitated by Emera) and welding.
A third workshop was chosen for them.
“We always give them one they didn’t pick,” said Shannon Campbell, marketing and communications manager for Skills Canada-Nova Scotia.
“They might think they might not like, but once they get their hands in it they think it is pretty awesome.”
The overall goal of the program, no matter what workshops the students pick, is to expose them to skilled trades and technologies where women have been under represented.
“Really, it’s just a hands-on exploration to see if it’s something that they like and to kind of get a better understanding of what’s involved in those careers.”
Skills Canada has been around for 21 years and workshops like last week's at Memorial have been part of their mandate for about 15 of those years. Campbell said all are hands on and give students an understanding of safety, materials used on the job, tools used, and instruction received among other things.
“I would say for the majority of the students this is a first introduction. Hopefully, it will broaden their understanding of what is out there in terms of vocational and technology career options.”
- Automotive Service
- Culinary Arts
- Electrical Installations
- Graphic Design
- Heavy Duty Equipment Repair
- Power Plant Technician