Programs help women explore nontraditional work
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Sarah Wallace was thrilled when - while visiting a friend - she served her hors d'oeuvres on a wooden tray she made herself.
“Hey, I made that,” she said. “It is so cool to see people use the thing that I’ve made - it’s super rewarding.”
Wallace, 31, a yoga teacher-turned-carpenter, is a graduate of Trade HERizons - a project designed to increase the number of women in non-traditional trades and technology occupations on Prince Edward Island.
She looked into Trade HERizons on a friend's suggestion. It is a college prep and career exploration program designed for women who have an interest in pursuing trades and industrial technologies in Prince Edward Island.
“My heart was really captured by cabinet making,” she said.
“It takes creativity to take a rough piece of lumber and turn it into something. It also takes a really careful person; in cabinet making being off by a quarter inch is like a mile.”
Since graduation, Wallace has made everything from storage boxes to a solid walnut table valued at $4,000 (“same as my car costs," she says). "Being able to produce things of value is pretty cool.
“Trade HERizons opened a lot of doors for me, and helped me make contacts in the industry so I’ll be able to make my own way.”
With support from the provincial government, Women's Network PEI helps unemployed and underemployed women explore, prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment in the trades and industrial technology.
“We are pleased to help support women who are exploring trades and technology careers on Prince Edward Island,” Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant said. “Trade HERizons helps connect Islanders to great jobs, while diversifying our skilled trades workforce.”
Funding is administered by the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning through Canada-PEI labour market development agreements.
“We are happy to partner again this year to increase the number women working in trades and industrial technologies," said Women's Network Executive Director Jillian Kilfoil. "This funding will allow us to deliver our Propelle and Trade HERizons programs and will support Island women to explore sectors where they are underrepresented."
Propelle is a life skills and employment readiness program designed for women who have experienced barriers to employment.
“This funding allows us to support women to transition from poverty to a sustainable livelihood," Kilfoil said. "It also helps respond to a shortage of skilled workers and contributes to our overall economic growth as it helps more women to re-engage with the workforce.”
Both Trade HERizons and Propelle are offered at no cost to women; subsidies and other supports are available and each program takes a strength-based approach and focuses on building skills and creating community connections.