News & Updates

Skilled Trades News & Events

NEWS | JAN 18 2024

How Gateway To The Trades Is Helping More Women Enter The Skilled Trades

For over a year, has been helping women build skills and get jobs through Gateway to the Trades, a career exploration and employment-readiness program, and will continue to help more women enter the skilled trades.

Funded through the Government of Ontario Skills Development Fund, 25% of Gateway to the Trades program participants are women looking to prepare for careers in the skilled trades. This number is well above the national average of women in the trades. A report by BuildForce Canada highlighted that women accounted for only 3.7% of the construction workforce in Ontario.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, we've seen an increase in apprenticeship registrations, up 24 percent, and nearly 30 percent for women in the trades." said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. "We are proud to support programs that help more women and young people access the training and supports they need to enter the skilled trades and find a life-changing career."

“HIEC is a fantastic organization that helps skilled individuals find apprenticeships and upscale their skills. There is a high demand for skilled workers in Ontario, and with more women entering the skilled trades the support of programs like Gateway to the Trades are crucial to helping women train and prepare for rewarding, well-paying careers in the trades,” said Natalie Pierre, MPP for Burlington.

The Gateway to the Trades program is a part-time, facilitated skilled trades exploration and employment-readiness program that equips participants with the skills and connections to find meaningful employment in the skilled trades.

"The demand for skilled trades continues to be a top priority, particularly in meeting our province's ambitious goals for housing and infrastructure. To grow our skilled trades community, we need to continue diversifying the workforce and providing support to those historically underrepresented in the industry," remarked Kelly Hoey, Executive Director of "We're really proud at that our user base reflects Canada's diversity. For example, we have over 5,000 women registered and using the site - it's over 20% of our user base and well above the national average of women in trades."

Participants also connect with skilled trades employers who are hiring and receive wrap-around support, such as tools and safety equipment, to support their employment needs. Employers who hire Gateway to the Trades graduates are eligible for a wage subsidy to support hiring, onboarding and training costs. Subsidies will cover 50% of wages up to $5,000.

"I have accomplished my dream of getting an apprenticeship as a level 1 sheet metal apprentice. The Gateway to the Trades program was a great introduction into the world of trades and what to expect," said Chelsea Deslauriers, Gateway to the Trades participant. "It was one of my first steps in reaching my goals. It gave me the confidence and basic tools/skills to reach out to a more local pre-apprenticeship program here in Ottawa. Both experiences have changed my life forever in all the right ways."

"Trade work can provide a great work/life balance, good pay, great benefits, a sense of community, stability and an overall physical and mental well-being," continued Deslauriers. "I've come to realize that most people working in the trades love what they do."

Read the full news story:
With the support of the Province of Ontario,'s Gateway to the Trades program is helping more women enter the skilled trades

NEWS | JAN 16 2024

Two Years Of Mentorship: Women In Skilled Trades Peer Mentorship Group

Mentoring has been a core aspect of for decades. Every month, on the second Thursday, brings together women in the skilled trades to share stories, advice, guidance and insight.

In partnership with the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER),’s Women in Skilled Trades Peer Mentorship Group was formed just over three years ago to support women in various trades.

Christine began by telling her story of her career in the automotive industry, her successes, her challenges and obstacles as well as including her guidance and advice.

“You don’t have to be 100% confident to have confidence,” Christine told this group of women. “Know you learned something today and you’ll learn something tomorrow.”

Despite all her achievements in her lucrative career, Christine says mentoring has been the most rewarding experience.

“My most rewarding moment is reaching behind me and pulling a woman forward,” she said, adding she created a LinkedIn page for Canadian Women in Automotive for ongoing support to those in her trade.

The majority of women in attendance were new to the industry, most coming “out from behind desk jobs”, as they said, to start a new career, some interested in learning more about working in the trade. There were women looking for apprenticeships, women who were already Ontario apprentices, and women who were already members of Red Seal Canada. And all were from a variety of skilled trades including engineering, manufacturing, carpentry, electrical and welding. 

“The Women In The Skilled Trades Peer Mentorship Group is important for women to feel connected. Many of them may be the only person of their gender on the job site or in their class,” said Emily McCormack, Program Coordinator and Facilitator, “It can be daunting going into a male-dominated field but support from fellow women in the same situation can help these women feel less alone. This group hosts guest speakers that are women who are excelling in the skilled trades. The women who join the group have the opportunity to ask questions of the guest speaker and leave feeling inspired by another woman's journey.”

Register for an upcoming
Women in the Skilled Trades Peer Mentorship Group.

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