Thursday, 24 March 2011

Promoting Young Women

Women in Information Technology Management networking event, Ryerson University, collage, poster, wobinna, by wobuilt.comCollage: Women in Information Technology Management
Networking Night, Ryerson University, March 23, 2011
Credit: Women in ITM
Yesterday I was invited to a networking night arranged by Women in Information Technology Management at the Ted Rogers School of Management. The purpose was to introduce female students to networking. The challenges women face in IT are not dissimilar to that in Construction and we are happy to help women where we can. Both fields are still seen as non-traditional for women. But the meeting gave me a lot of hope that times are changing as many of the young women seemed determined to make their careers in the field.

Another sign that times are changing: today an article in the Toronto StarA whirlwind tour of the trades – describes the new construction trades techniques program at George Brown College which attracted two ladies who wanted to make their careers in the trades, but had not made up their minds to which trade.

At Wo-Built we are encouraged by these signs as they bode well for the future. The more women will be trained by the schools the more will stay the course and become experienced and well educated professionals who in turn will be role models for future generations.

I also believe that both the IT and the Construction Industry have to play an important part in promoting these young women. In the case of the construction industry employers have to be willing to break through the preconceived ideas and hire these young women on the strength of their performance during their schooling. In the construction industry we will face a rapid trades shortage in the next few years as the older generation will retire.

For many years the industry did not have to implement widespread apprenticeship programs and make the commitment of systematically training the new generation. This will need to change if a disruption in the quality and skill level of the trades is to be avoided. As the trades have difficulties attracting boys as well, courting young women may be the answer to the problem.

At Wo-Built we see ourselves as a stepping stone in young women’s careers, giving them the first on-site experience at our larger construction sites. During the building of additions and larger renovations they help and observe many of the trades and get hands on experience.

In the IT industry women may not face the same physical dimension as in construction, but what I glimpsed yesterday they also face challenges. What I can say to women in both industries: find something you love doing and own it.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

You would also be interested to read:
Wo-Built: Celebrating International Women’s Day - Encouraging Women in Construction

Wo-Built: A Great Evening Celebrating CAWIC's (Canadian Women in Construction) 5th Anniversary

Wo-Built: Wo-Built Is Talking to George Brown about Training Courses for Women in the Finishing Trades

Share Your Thoughts: Why do so few women choose the skilled trades as a career?

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