Annual conference inspires career choices

Carla Allen
Published on March 5, 2014

The value of introducing young women to non-traditional careers through the annual Young Women’s Conference at NSCC Burridge, presented by Skills Canada-Nova Scotia on March 4, can be summed up in one sentence.

“Last year I ended up having 30 girls that wanted to become auto mechanics,” said project manager Laura Decker.

The one-day conference provides students with the opportunity to explore skilled trade and technology career options by participating in hands-on workshops ranging from welding to mechatronics.

Decker says because the event at NSCC Burridge has become well established, it’s generated keen interest from students in the region.

“The girls have heard the stories and it helps to build excitement,” she said.

Sixty-three young women in Grades 8 and 9 from schools in the Tri-County Regional School Board and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial region attended this year’s event, purposefully scheduled for the week of International Women’s Day.

Women make up 19 per cent of the tech-based workforce and only five per cent of the skilled trades workforce in Nova Scotia.

“With women making up 47 per cent of the province’s workforce, and the reality of a shortage of one million skilled workers by 2020, it’s clear that more women are needed in skilled trades and technologies,” said Decker.

The annual conference touches base with all three recommended actions for growing workforces with low percentages of women. Those are: more exposure to trades and technologies; more awareness about trade and technology careers; and more encouragement to choose work in trade and technology fields by not only parents and teachers, but also by the community.

For more information about Skills Canada visit the website.