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TRU Williams Lake provides more options for women to try trades

TRU Williams Lake campus offering a fully funded Women in Trades Exploratory Program

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is adding a Cariboo cohort to their Women in Trades Exploratory Program. The TRU program helps to motivate women to try out the trades and has already been running at the Kamloops campus, but this will be its first year in Williams Lake.

According to TRU Community Coordinate Alison Sutherland-Mann, there are 10 tickets of certifications available with some new components added to the occupational training courses.

“We’ve got four trades, and we’ve added what is called a two-week mining component, and that is to get people into the first stages into being hired into the mines because both of them are hiring right now,” she said.

The exploratory class for women will introduce them to the carpentry, heavy-duty mechanics, electrical, and welding trades. Students will receive training for employment, and if interested, they can go into the foundations program, which includes foundation technical training and employment transition supports, including job coaching and mentoring, before moving on to the apprenticeship section. All course stages will be available to take at the TRU Williams Lake or Kamloops campuses.

The Government of Canada fully funds the course through the Skilled Trades Training Program, so there are no tuition fees. There are 16 seats available for each intake to maintain a balanced student-instructor ratio.

According to Skills Trades College of Canada, women account for roughly five per cent of the skilled trades workforce, a portion that Sutherland-Mann says is expanding thanks to funded programs like these.

“Having a Red Seal just opens so many doors. It just gives you that leverage that you need to go into good jobs to make decent money, and for some people, it can be life-changing,” she said.

Sutherland-Mann says many women may be interested in the trades but are unsure how to go about it. The fear of not liking it deters many people, so she says it’s important to offer more variety so people can get a taste of their preferred vocation. With this course, she hopes that women embrace the opportunity by going into foundations and finding a way to move into a new career path.

“I think women need to know that the supports are there if they are in a job that they’re not really liking, maybe there are trying to support a family and not making enough money, maybe the trades is the answer.

She says all workforces across the province need people more than ever, making the market more viable to get jobs that will supply good pay and improve other parts of life.

The deadline to sign up is July 14; anyone interested in registering can click here for more information, call the Willams Lake TRU at 250-392-8018, or you can email

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READ MORE: Grade 7s explore trades at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake

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