Women Building Futures is a non-profit organization offering training programs and support services to help unemployed and underemployed women explore and connect to careers that pay above a living wage.
We’re proud to offer a variety of industry relevant employment training programs in the construction trades, maintenance, driving, operating, supply chain industries and more. We also offer many support services for women such as coaching, readiness workshops, and affordable housing. Over the last 20 years, we’ve grown to become a trusted name in our focus industries for introductory training and inspiring more women to explore career opportunities in these areas.
The women we support continue to inspire the work we do every day and we’re proud to share their stories of success.
New Journey, New Career Path
Kate Ross, Safety Watch
“I first met Kate during interview days at Women Building Futures, she had just finished her training and really stood out as an energetic, eager worker. She told us she was ultimately interested in getting into safety and at the time, we happened to be expanding our safety watch team. I knew right away she would be a great fit” shares Jay Coupland, Manager at Stuart Olson Inc. “Since joining us, Kate has grown to become an essential part of our team and is well on her way to becoming a Safety Advisor. She’s doing awesome and we’re really happy she’s with us.”
In early 2018, Kate decided to take her future into her own hands and started a new journey and career path that would allow her challenge herself and reach her goals. She attended an information session in Fort McMurray First Nation hosted by Women Building Futures (WBF), an Edmonton-based training organization for women looking to enter the trades and driving industries.
At the time, WBF was visiting Kate’s community to offer a 5-day Career Builder workshop that would help women understand the application process and skills required to apply for an upcoming training program and the career paths available after training.
After the 5-day Career Builder, Kate left feeling excited and was determined to apply for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction Labourer Readiness Program. After submitting her application, Kate received a call back for an interview and a few weeks later received her acceptance letter. Kate, along with 11 other women were selected for the 8-week training program.
In early March 2018, Kate entered her program with clear goals and an eagerness to learn. The Construction Labourer Readiness Program gave her the foundational knowledge and hard-skills to start her a career in the oil & gas industry. Kate always had her heart set on pursuing a role in safety, so when she completed her program, she was determined to find an employer who could help her fulfill that goal. At the end of the training program, WBF hosted a group of employers to interview the graduates of the program. This gave Kate the opportunity to speak with a few companies, hear about their work and see if there was a good fit. In the end, she was formally offered a safety watch position with Stuart Olson.
She completed her program April 28, 2018 and started her new position on May 7, 2018. Now in her new role as Safety Watch, Kate is responsible for making sure work is being done safely and addressing any hazards on the jobsite. This new path has helped her achieve her goal of building a career for herself, being able to buy a vehicle and have it fully paid off within a year.
At the end of training, WBF always asks their graduates: If they could say one thing to other women who are thinking about pursuing a career in the trades, what would it be? Kate’s responded with, “Go for it! This will open so many doors for you and the opportunities are endless!”
Women Building Futures is a not-for-profit organization training women with the skills required to pursue employment in the construction, skilled trades, maintenance and driving industries. They partner with industry, government and communities to champion women’s representation in industries where they have historically been under-represented.
For more information, please visit womenbuildingfutures.com
Meet Erin (JWS 41)
Journeywoman Welder, Metalboss Technologies
When Erin first walked through the doors of Women Building Futures (WBF), she’d pretty much made up her mind as to what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. “I was planning on pursuing a career in carpentry but I had no idea of the options that were available, so I enrolled in the Journeywoman Start program. The hands-on part was really educational because I got to learn a little bit about everything,” she explained.
Today Erin, who also completed NAIT’s Multi-Media program and recently applied for the school’s Business Management Program, is a multi-talented journeyman welder with a good job and a future full of promise. “I’ve been working for MetalBoss Technologies in Edmonton for more than a year. Pursuing a career in the trades is the best thing I’ve ever done and I would highly recommend it to every woman seeking a new challenge.”
“My dreams are being realized and my future is more secure each day,” she smiled. “I’ll always be thankful to those who helped me achieve my goals, those like Totem Welding who accepted me near the end of my WBF training and enabled me to complete my two-week practicum, my family and my current employer, who provides ongoing incentive, encouragement and opportunity.”
Meet Star (JWS 57)
Apprentice Plumber-Gasfitter, Double G Mechanical
Star always knew she wanted to be in the trades; she loves the physical work and the feeling of accomplishment. She had heard about Women Building Futures (WBF) on the radio, but it was her sister who attended an information session and then pushed her to apply. What really grabbed her attention about the WBF Journeywoman Start program were the two weeks of safety tickets and the one-week workshops of the seven most common trades. This allowed Star to get the hands-on experience that she was looking for.
Star took a practical approach to the trade that she chose. As she says, “I thought about my circumstances and living situation and picked the most appropriate trade accordingly, which was Plumbing, for reasons such as: there is always work, it’s one of the higher paying trades, it’s in town and the hours work with my lifestyle.“
Star loves working on the job site; her biggest challenge at first was being under estimated when it came to heavy lifting, but the guys she works with now understand how strong she really is.
Her proudest moment as a result of her training with WBF is that she has been put in charge of the finishing stages of the project she is currently working on. This has made her very proud.
Women Building Futures is valued for empowering women to succeed in non traditional careers, inspiring positive economic change for women and forever transforming the face of industry in Canada
To foster economic security for women facing barriers to entry in a workforce where they are traditionally underrepresented.
Integrity is built on respect and trust.
Health & Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Courage empowers our ingenuity, innovation, and sustainable growth.
Compassion nurtures inclusion, teamwork and service to others.
- Attract more women into the construction trades
- Provide trades training that meets the needs of women and the industry
- Provide mentorship and long-term support for women entering and in the trades
- Examine and address systemic barriers to the recruitment, training and retention of women entering trades
- Increase the number of tradeswomen instructors and mentors
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