KAMLOOPS, B.C.—Women exploring trades careers are getting a boost in B.C.’s Interior.
New Gold Inc. has donated $150,000 to enhance programming and opportunities for women in the trades at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
Most of the funds will go towards comprehensive renovations to upgrade a multi-use space that will be called the New Gold Women in Trades and Technology Resource Centre. Additionally, the company endowed $50,000 to fund a new bursary that will be awarded annually to women pursuing training in electrical, welding, heavy mechanical and millwright foundation programs.
“At New Gold, one of our core values is people and communities and we strengthen our team by embracing diversity and inclusiveness,” said John Ritter, general manager at New Gold’s New Afton Mine, in a statement. “Our partnership with TRU and the donation to the TRU Women in Trades Training program are aligned with our vision to strengthen our team with a diverse, inclusive and empowered workforce.”
Ritter added New Gold’s community investment strategy is looking at long-term, sustainable investments which includes advancement of women in leadership roles within the local community of Kamloops.
The New Gold Women in Trades and Technology Resource Centre will be a hub for the RBC Women in Trades Training (WITT) student cohort and staff. RBC has funded WITT since 2014, with the goal of addressing gender inequality in the workforce.
Students receive dedicated support, mentorship, learning opportunities and access to bursaries while pursuing trades training at TRU.
WITT also offers introductory and exploratory opportunities to women interested in a career in the trades. Enrolment of women in trades at TRU has increased by 50 per cent since WITT was introduced.
“Investing in diversity in trades programs has a strong impact at TRU,” explained dean of the School of Trades and Technology Baldev Pooni. “The funding from New Gold further enhances our efforts and initiatives to increase gender diversity among skilled tradespeople. We are seeing more women completing their Red Seal certification and pursuing leadership roles.”
The renovated centre will be used as a communal gathering place and flexible teaching space with upgraded technology. It will have a private meeting room, an office for the WITT program co-ordinator, and safe and secure access to the resource centre for students.
“Honestly, I don’t know where I would be if it were not for the Women in Trades Training program. It opened up so many doors for me and exposed pathways that I would never have considered otherwise,” said electrical student Sophie Gervais.
The New Gold Women in Trades Resource Centre is expected to open once renovations are completed in 2022. The New Gold Women in Trades Bursary will be awarded for the first time in spring 2022.