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More Indigenous women working in trades, says college

Canadore College in North Bay is seeing an increase in Indigenous women enrolling in its Aboriginal Women in the Trades program.
Indigenous students graduated from North Bay's Canadore College in August. (Photo supplied)

Canadore College in North Bay said more Indigenous women are choosing careers in the trades.

First Nations women from across the province graduated from the school’s Aboriginal Women in the Trades program in August.

“We are overjoyed with the success of this program and are pleased to be celebrating a 100 per cent completion rate for a second year in a row,” said Judy Manitowabi, manager of community-based learning and contract training for Canadore’s First Peoples’ Centre, in a news release.

“These women are now armed with some pretty amazing opportunities — they can go back to their home communities to work, or they can continue their studies at a postsecondary level.”

Of the 15 women registered for the in-person, 12-week certificate program, three have chosen to study in skills-related full-time postsecondary programs this September, with another four intending to do the same in January 2018.

“The student success rate is a testament to how committed these individuals are to improving their lives and making some personal decisions to continue to learn in the trades after this exploratory program is done. I’m so proud of them,” said Manitowabi. 

Education is a means to self-determination and confidence building and has lasting effects on individuals, families and their communities, she added.

Canadore said it is committed to supporting First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples to learn in ways that are linked to traditional knowledge and culture.

The culturally based program incorporated a holistic approach to employability skills development, self-development, academic knowledge and safety certifications with practical hands-on training in the trades sector and explored four key trade areas: building construction, electrical, plumbing and carpentry.

Funded by the Ontario Poverty Reduction Fund and delivered in partnership with a steering committee of community members, participants can enroll at no cost. Training costs, books, personal protective equipment, bus passes and health and safety considerations are all covered through grant money.

The Aboriginal Women in the Trades program supports the efforts of Canadore College’s five-year Indigenous education and services strategy announced in September 2016.