Conestoga news

September 29, 2020 8:55 AM

New bursary to support young women in trades

Industry partner ATS Automation has extended support at Conestoga with a $10,000 donation to encourage more women to enter the skilled trades. The gift will establish The ATS Automation Jill of All Trades Award to provide financial assistance to students preparing for a career in a trade after participating in the exploration program.

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ATS Automation visited the college’s Cambridge campus on September 28 to announce a new bursary at Conestoga to encourage more women to enter the skilled trades.

Hosted annually, Conestoga’s Jill of All Trades event welcomes more than 200 young women in Grades 9 through 12 from local school boards for a full day of hands-on workshops focused on skilled trades. Led by female mentors, the program aims to allow young women to develop a better understanding of the potential of skilled trades careers. The event is presented in conjunction with the School College Work Initiative - Grand Connection Regional Planning Team.

“We’re excited to extend our long-standing relationship with Conestoga to the Jill of All Trades program, which aligns directly to the core values of the ATS Professional Women’s Network,” said Barb Willoughby, ATS Women’s Professional Network chair. “The shared vision of the Jill of All Trades program and ATS is to promote and advocate for more women in trades where they can have a meaningful impact on themselves as well as the future companies and organizations they support.”

According to Statistics Canada, women account for roughly four per cent of workers in under-represented skilled trades occupations. Supporting women in non-traditional roles not only helps diversify the workforce but is part of a larger picture that projects a significant shortage of skilled trades workers.

The ATS Automation Jill of All Trades Award will be presented annually over the next four years to two female students enrolled full-time in level one of an eligible trades program at Conestoga and attended the college’s Jill of All Trades event. More information will be shared in the coming weeks through the School of Trades & Apprenticeship.

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and our growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of post-secondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.