KITIMAT, B.C. – A program designed to increase female participation on the LNG Canada project has received an overwhelming response.
According to LNG Canada and its project’s prime contractor, response to JGC Fluor’s YOUR PLACE workforce development program for B.C. women has far exceeded expectations. The program is aimed at attracting, recruiting, training, supporting and employing women to work on the project. The project team has seen the program garner more than 1,000 applications since it was launched four months ago.
YOUR PLACE includes a 4-week workplace readiness training program and employment supports designed to help women begin a successful career in the skilled trades. Graduates have a direct line to employment in an entry level position as an apprentice with JGC Fluor or one of its subcontractors on the LNG Canada project site in Kitimat, B.C.
The first scheduled training session of YOUR PLACE takes place between November 12 and December 6 at Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI). According to LNG Canada, holding all training sessions at KVI provides attendees with first-hand experience with the realities of a fly-in/fly-out worksite.
Of the 12 participants in the first class of women, three are self-identified as Indigenous.
“The response to YOUR PLACE has completely surpassed LNG Canada’s expectations,” said Tracey MacKinnon, LNG Canada’s workforce development lead and creator of YOUR PLACE program. “We launched the program in June, and in the first four months, we have 1,034 applicants, with about one-third of these self-identified as Indigenous women, and one-quarter women from the local area. Our message to women that we are saving a place for them on our Project has really resonated with women of all ages and in all stages of their career.”
LNG Canada officials state that while not all applicants will make it through the recruitment process to training, to date close to 400 women have submitted all necessary documents to participate. Following submission of their documents, a representative of Women Building Futures, the non-profit organization that is providing the customized training, conducts a phone interview with each applicant.
“Women in British Columbia currently represent just under 5 per cent of a typical construction workforce, despite comprising 50% of the working population,” said Susannah Pierce, LNG Canada’s director of corporate affairs, in a press release. “We don’t see this as a women’s issue, but a workplace issue. LNG Canada and JGC Fluor have set a goal to double the average percentage of women in the construction trades on our Project and the overwhelming response to date suggests we will easily be able to achieve that goal.”
LNG Canada originally designed YOUR PLACE to remove barriers for women considering a career in the trades and encourage women who may not have considered the trades as a viable career option.
LNG Canada and JGC Fluor have committed to cover the costs of the training, return airfare to and from the training in Kitimat, and accommodations for women from outside the local area. The companies are also providing all required personal protective equipment, including safety boots, hard hat, high visibility vest, glasses and gloves.
“JGC Fluor is providing apprenticeship opportunities for graduates of the training and welcomes women to work for JGC Fluor or one of its sub-contractors,” says Phil Clark, JGC Fluor project director.
JGC Fluor is also encouraging women who already have construction trades experience to apply directly to the company for employment, with hiring expected to ramp up by mid-to-late 2020.
At $40 billion, the LNG Canada project is one of the large energy projects in the country’s history. It includes the construction of an export facility so LNG can be sent to Asian markets.