By ALEXANDRIA DEER
Women at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus are making their mark.
Since 2003, the Ontario government has helped fund the women in skilled trades program (WIST).
The program, which runs for 38 weeks, offers gender sensitive in-class and on-the-job training to women with low incomes who are unemployed or underemployed and helps prepare them for jobs, according to the Ontario government’s website.
Over the last two years, the McGuinty government has invested $3.3 million to help low-income women across Ontario get the training they need to create a better future.
“I think the program is really special. I think the biggest thing is the women knowing they can achieve it, they’ve done it well and they know they can do it,” said Kristin Goetz, Liaison Officer for the School of Trades and Apprenticeship.
According to the college’s website, the program will equip students who wish to make a career in the construction industry as a general carpenter, with the basic skills required to secure a position as an apprentice, and to work safely and successfully in the industry.
Women are encouraged to investigate the significant benefits of a career in a skilled trade.
“I think that women can bring a lot to the plate. It’s kind of like an untapped resource really, because it’s been such a male-dominated world for so long,” said Lori Quarrie, a student of the WIST program.
“I’ve done a lot of jobs. This is kind of my niche,” said Nicole Kozierowski, another WIST student. “All the girls here are so crazy and so different but we all get along so well. I think it’s important for women to be in there. Boys gotta know what’s up.”
There are currently 25 women enrolled in the WIST program. Courses include building science, computer literacy, hand and power tools and health and safety. For admission requirements and start dates, visit the School of Trades and Apprenticeship’s page on the college’s website, www.conestogac.on.ca, click on prospective/parents and then programs and courses.