The Government of the Northwest Territories has announced a new trades-based placement program in Building Forever: Women’s Pre-Trades Program.
In partnership with Gahcho Kué diamond mine, and the Native Women’s Association of the Northwest Territories, the program is tentatively scheduled to begin in early May.
The number of women in the trades are “really low,” according to program co-ordinator Michelle LeMouel of the Native Women’s Association.
Building Forever gives women from the NWT a paid opportunity to explore a career in a skilled trade position in the NWT, such as an electrician, millwright, carpenter, plumber and crane and hoisting equipment operator, among others.
LeMouel said the program will function almost like a “job shadowing position.”
“Six women will have the opportunity to go up to camp for 11 days at Gahcho Kué Mine, and they’ll be partnered with either a mentor, supervisor, (or) long-term employee that’s been working there, and they’re going to explore the different trade areas within the mine,” she said. “So that will give them the opportunity to see the inside workings of what it would be like to work in this trade, but it would also give them the opportunity to see what it’s like to be at that camp for an extended amount of time.”
If participants have a preferred designated trade, Gahcho Kué Mine will attempt to accommodate their requests.
“We’re pleased to work with the GNWT and Native Women’s Association of the NWT on this initiative to support women in the trades,” said Lyndon Clark, general manager of Gahcho Kué operations in a statement. “Gahcho Kué is committed to increasing the representation of women working at the operation.”
Being a paid program, LeMouel said the compensation is fitting considering the work that participants will do.
“You’re leaving your community, you’re leaving your family for almost two weeks, so you definitely need some type of compensation for that,” she said. “At the end of the day, people still have bills to pay — you still need to keep your life going.”
The amount they will earn was not disclosed.
In order to be a part of the program, participants must be female NWT residents (a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident 18 years or older) interested in the trades and passionate about the industry.
Candidates also must pass security, medical and vaccination clearances. Potential participants will also need to pass an interview.
Following the 11-day paid work placement, successful participants will do an exit interview and will be encouraged to apply for an apprenticeship at Gahcho Kué Mine.
Gahcho Kué has also created two apprenticeship positions for resident NWT women starting this year.
“Working with the GNWT and the Gahcho Kué Mine on this initiative will support and empower Indigenous women and their families throughout the Northwest Territories,” stated Denise McDonald, president of the Native Women’s Association. “We look forward to seeing more of our clients entering into well-paid careers in the trades.”