What Makes a Skilled Tradesperson
A common misconception regarding skilled careers is that they pay poorly, are only for men, and require minimal education. With their diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiatives, Skills Ontario dispels these myths daily.
Skills Ontario has been running its Young Women’s Initiatives program for over twenty years. They have reached thousands of young women through experiential learning, mentoring, and networking opportunities, inspiring them to explore career paths they may not have even considered before. Young women learn that careers in trades are not exclusive to men.
“We don’t just want more women in trades; we need them,” says Lindsay Chester, Program Manager for Young Women’s Initiatives. “There is strength in diversity, and when we make young women feel inspired and empowered, it is a win for everyone.”
Skills Ontario has expanded its programming to include other groups, such as persons with disabilities and people of color, over the past two years. Over 2,000 viewed their very first Persons with Exceptionalities Conference in March 2021 and heard from speakers who presented and shared resources.
“As an organization dedicated to empowering youth to explore careers in the skilled trades and technologies, we work to ensure that all Ontarians feel welcomed and included in these fields,” Skills Ontario CEO Ian Howcroft says. “Through our programs and initiatives, we emphasize that the skilled trades and technologies are suitable for all. We will continue to put our efforts into making sure all Ontarians feel included, heard, and appreciated.”
As part of its effort to overcome outdated and exclusionary stigmas, Skills Ontario launched new Skills Wear line in summer 2021 with slogans such as “this is what a tradesperson looks like” and “this is what an apprentice looks like.”
For tradespeople, there is no “right” way to look. Only when all feel encouraged to enter these fields can we grow as a province and as a country.