EDMONTON, ALTA. – Women Building Futures (WBF) and Graham Construction have started a three-year project to help women enter the construction industry.
The partnership begins with the WBF’s Journeywoman Start program, a 17-week multi-trade readiness program that provides students with skills training, safety certification, workplace culture awareness, fitness, financial literacy and academics to prepare them for a job site. Once they’ve graduated from this program and with the support of a WBF Alumni Advisor the graduates earn referrals to WBF industry partners in preparation for their apprenticeships
“WBF is thrilled to be partnering with Graham,” said Megan Bates, Manager of Industry Relations. “When WBF partners with industry, the why is always focused on providing the ‘right’ employment opportunities for the long-term success of WBF Alumni. We know that by partnering with industry leaders who are committed to ongoing training and apprenticeship support, who demonstrate a fair and inclusive work environment and who prioritize a safety culture, retention increases.
Bates explained that the average increase in income for women starting their careers in the construction industry following a WBF program is 127 per cent.
“The opportunity for women to train for employment with Graham changes women’s lives, and the lives of their children,” said Bates. “Not only will this partnership lead to employment opportunities for WBF Alumni, but we also know that together we will continue to change the face of the construction industry in a way that is measurable and we will continue to improve the construction environment for everyone.”
As a partner, Graham will conduct quarterly interview days where leaders offer mock interviews to prepare Journeywoman Start graduates for the industry. During this process, Graham will also be looking to hire women directly.
Graham has already done four interview days and has directly hired three graduates on various project sites.
“As an organization that places high value on diversity and inclusion, we’re very excited about our partnership with Women Building Futures and enthusiastic about our role in developing our female workforce in Canada,” said Terry Grant, director of business development for Graham. “This partnership is a true win for everyone involved. WBF benefits from the opportunity to reach an increasing number of construction professional and leaders, potentially growing their program. Graham benefits from the opportunity to acquire more skilled tradespeople as we face a labour shortage due to the retiring workforce in Western Canada. And most importantly, it’s a win for the graduating student who receives top-notch training, exposure and experience in the ever-evolving construction industry.”