Unifor and Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada have come together on an initiative to provide 15 scholarships for women enrolled in skilled trades apprenticeship programs at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
“Too often young women are streamed away from skilled trades. It is one thing to not choose a pathway to trade, it is another to face upfront barriers that minimize the trades as a viable opportunity,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Unifor is proud to partner with Coca-Cola and NAIT to help advance women in to trades and offer financial support. We need industry partners, educational institutions and labour to work together to reduce barriers and create opportunities for women in skilled trades.”
The $2,000 scholarships are open to all female students attending four-year apprenticeship programs at NAIT. The scholarships, available for the 2016-2017 school year, will be awarded based on academic achievement and financial need.
“This scholarship could not have come at a better time,” said Katerina Sanders who is in the second year of her industrial insulating apprenticeship. “This scholarship is such a blessing. I already fell behind on bill payments because I wasn’t working while I was attending class. Now I have the help I need.”
Women are typically under-represented in the trades, figures show that less than 3% of all apprentices in the construction, automotive and industry trades are female.
“Statistics show that every year, an increasing number of young women pursue post-secondary education, however they often choose to study in a relatively narrow range of fields,” said Stephanie Fuhrer, Women in Technology and Trades coordinator, NAIT. “These scholarships will help more women reach their goals of becoming skilled professionals.”
Earlier this year, Unifor and Coca-Cola announced similar scholarships for women enrolled in skilled trades at Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies in Brampton, Ontario. Read the Sheridan announcement.
“As we continue to grow our business, it is vitally important that we have a wide pool of skilled talent to bring into our organization,” said Stephen Satchel, Group Director, Human Resources and Labour Relations, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. “We are extremely excited to be working with Unifor to not only help develop the next generation of skilled tradespeople but to also encourage women to continue to pursue non-traditional careers in skilled trades.”