KANATA — Last week more than 150 young women in Grades 7 and 8 across the Upper Canada District School Board had the opportunity to participate in a day dedicated to the carpentry industry.
Students learned how to use power tools and the math involved in making a single cut; how to put on a safety harness and its function; intricacies of woodworking; how to build scaffolding and what it’s used for; form building; and the opportunity to participate in a virtual reality simulation of working from a high rise.
The sessions were led mainly by Sisters of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America from Carpenters Local 93 and held at the training center in Kanata. At the end of the hands-on sessions, students had the opportunity to pose questions to the female session leaders, which induced a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.
“With women representing less than 1 per cent of those in the carpentry industry, this partnered event with Carpenters Local 93 was really beneficial for everyone involved,” said Student Success Learning Partner Lauren Levac, one of the event organizers. “It’s really important that women get exposed to opportunities in the trades early on, because it’s really a great career option and not one that is front of mind for young women normally.”
Last year’s event was geared towards young women in Grades 9 and 10, but this year intermediate girls were the focus. The intent was to give them some base knowledge before entering high school so that they might be more inclined or more confident to take a shop class.
The event ran over three days and drew students from 13 schools across the UCDSB and several from the Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario (CSBEO), with approximately 250 students from the two boards attending. It was organized in conjunction with the UCDSB, Carpenters Local 93, CSBEO and funded through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). The Women in Trade OYAP Day is to expose young women to skilled trades that are traditionally under-represented by women.
“We heard so many great questions from students during the panel session, at one point we actually ran out of time to take them all. It was nice to see these young women so engaged in something that was new to a lot of them,” added Levac. “Introducing young women to these non-traditional career options is really essential.”