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New Ottawa program encourages girls to join skilled trades

A new OCDSB program looks to introduce students in Grades 9 and 10 to welding. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa) A new OCDSB program looks to introduce students in Grades 9 and 10 to welding. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)
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Across the province there is a growing demand for skilled trades and the workers who are talented enough to do them.

At one Ottawa school, a new pilot program aims to introduce girls to a world of work that at one time was not welcoming to them.

The five-week program at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School, run by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in partnership with the Canadian Welding Bureau and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, introduces girls in Grades 9 and 10 to welding.

Farhana Moshira, the OYAP lead at the OCDSB says we need to break down gender stereotypes and show that great careers are available to men and women in skilled trades.

“There is no gender for trades, it’s open to anyone and anyone can try it,” Moshira said. “There is huge interest for trades. All the spaces in the program were taken in less than two days.”

Student Kayla Poisson is honing her new skills making a fire poker. She says welding has always interested her and having the opportunity to test her metal in a open and supportive environment is great.

“It’s neat to be able to build something yourself,” Poisson said. “Typically men are the ones who are supposed to be in trades and welding, but women doing a trade is quite cool.”

Others in the class agree, saying this has sparked their interest in exploring a world of work that defies gender stereotypies and embracing opportunities that are typically filled by men.

Taia Larocque sees a future in the skilled trades for herself. The experience she’s gaining in this program will help her decide which trade is for her.

“I think all females should at least try trades because there are so many stereotypes,” Larocque said. “I think this is so important for females to get into because it’s a fun thing for everyone."

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