Manitoba Women in Trades conference returns with significant MITT presence

Originally posted: November 21, 2022

As a strong supporter of women in skilled trades, MITT had a significant presence at the Manitoba Women in Trades Conference (MBWIT), which took place on Wednesday, November 15.

This was the second edition of the convention, which first took place in February 2020. Initially slated for February 2022, the conference was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With public health measures changing, organizers rescheduled MBWIT and held it as an in-person event, a vital part of its dynamic.

“Having those in-person connections shows how important they are for people looking for a career path,” said Celia Vielfaure, MITT Career Coordinator.

MITT sent several students from the Construction Labourer Certificate program for Indigenous youth aged 18 to 20 to attend the conference with Vielfaure. She reflects that opportunities to be physically part of an event with female leaders in the skilled trades is so important.

“Our students have met women in positions of authority within the trades, and I think that is what sticks with them – knowing that it's possible, that there are opportunities and that if this is what you want to do, you belong. You're supposed to be there.”

Extensive participation

Student delegates were just part of MITT's presence at MBWIT.

Several alumni attended the conference as delegates and presenters. Two MITT graduates – Jenna Nowicki and Meagan Robinson – were featured as part of the panel “Women Journey People – Together We Can Do It!”

“It’s cool that two of the five people on the panel were MITT graduates,” Vielfaure said, adding that Nowicki actively promotes the role of women in skilled trades through social media and appearances on podcasts.

MITT staff participated in all aspects of MBWIT. As a keynote sponsor, MITT’s Bev Stuart, Vice-President, Business and Organizational Development, had the opportunity to speak about MITT’s support for women in trades, female involvement in MITT’s micro-credentials developed with industry partners, and a new partnership with the Canadian Welding Bureau Foundation to deliver the Women in Steel Program. Kathy Knight, Dean, ICT Programs, was a member of the panel discussion “Post-Secondary Institutions: How are they responding to the needs of women?” Additionally, recruitment and Career and Employment Services staff welcomed students and industry delegates to MITT’s booth in the trade show area.

Having been through multiple events of this nature, Vielfaure is optimistic about the continued growth of women in skilled trades. A 2020 study by BuildForce Canada showed that five per cent of 1.1 million tradespeople in our country identified as female. This is an increase from a 10-year study conducted between 2008 and 2018 by Statistics Canada, which found that 3.7 per cent of the skilled trades population was female.

“I’m proud, inspired, and excited about the future,” Vielfaure said. “Going through the event program and seeing that we have staff, students, and graduates working together to encourage women in trades is exceptional. I hope we keep seeing more of that.”

MITT is committed to fostering the growth of women in skilled trades. Learn more by visiting the Women in Trades and Technology page on our website.

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