Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute Grade 12 students Brooklyn Barnard and Hunter Zerabny joined a group of about 20 female classmates on a trek to the Carpenters Union Local 1669 facility for a first-hand lesson about the carpentry trade. The excursion took place on Wednesday, International Women’s Day.
Barnard says studying and working in a trades field empowers her.
“Most women don’t do trades because they’re either scared or think that they can’t do it, but they can,” she said.
Zerabny called herself a “hands-on” learner who likes to work with her hands and be creative. Like Barnard, she sees a gender trend among the trades.
“People think that it’s just because they’re put in these categories and because they’re a girl, they can’t (do this type of work),” Zerabny said. “Whereas — they can do it. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or how you identify as, you can do whatever you feel like as long as you put your mind to it.”
Jasmine Rody with the Carpenters Union Local 1669 agrees with the students and says it would be nice to see a lot more of “these ladies” realize that there’s nothing stopping them from doing this trade or any trade for that matter.
“There’s no such thing as a boy job and a girl job anymore as we’ve been taught in the past,” Rody said. “If you have the energy, the willingness, the eagerness to learn, we’re here to train people. These little women are awesome. They’re just in high school, and they look and can see a future for them.”
Anyone willing to learn is welcome at the carpenter union hall and from there, Rody says there is a giant list of companies always wanting apprentices to bring on-site and train.
“I would encourage more women to just give it a try,” she said. “Life is a journey, not a destination . . . and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised like myself to have found a career.”
Alana Carli, the school’s special education facilitator and guidance counsellor, says excursions like this are a great way for students to recognize both International Women’s Day and women in the trades.
“It lets them explore the different facets and opportunities within the trade sector for the students that potentially would not have had the exposure to,” Carli said. “It allows them to see the different varieties and career paths that maybe were traditionally male-dominated in the past.”
Carli said that the demand for labour amid a nationwide labour shortage has ignited the push for equality and representation of women across all sectors in the labour market.
“There’s been a new push from the government and ministries to find different opportunities,” she said. “These supports provide the opportunity within the skilled trades in the school settings and then opportunities after with dual credit to the college.”
John Delorey, Superior high school’s chairman of technology, says in more than 20 years of teaching, it’s interesting to see how the trade industry is evolving.
“The need for workers is higher than ever, he said. “We’re starting to see 50 per cent of students in our shop classes are female.”
Delorey said there’s such a demand for workers that all the trade unions and employers are looking into high schools for young trainable workers.
By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 09, 2023