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Celebrating the women building a better Kingston

*Paid Business Feature*

The following is a submitted Op/Ed written by Kingston Home Builders Association President Jacqueline Collier. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

Jacqueline Collier, President, Kingston Home Builders Association. Screenshot.

Let me tell you about a young woman in construction who inspires me. She’s my friend’s daughter, and she’s 14 years old.

Traditional classroom instruction isn’t her favourite way to learn. So imagine her excitement when her high school hosted skilled trades career exploration opportunities. She learned about all sorts of jobs she might never have considered, including welding.

In fact, she got so excited about welding she started making items and selling them through her school, with proceeds going to charity. She’s just registered for her courses for next year and can’t wait to try her hand at metal works and woodworking. For the first time ever, she is really looking forward to her upcoming school year!

This kind of story should be commonplace: young, ambitious, energetic people learning hands-on skills and putting them to use. We are making headway, but unfortunately, it’s still all too rare and it’s becoming a serious problem. We must find ways to welcome and recruit more people, especially women, into the skilled trades.

It’s National Women in Construction Week, and the theme this year is Envision Equity. It’s a great time for women in construction – like me – to take a wrecking ball to the stereotypes that are preventing women from enjoying a great career in this dynamic industry.

BuildForce Canada estimates we need 116,000 skilled trades workers across Canada to keep pace with growth and retirements in the coming years. And while the construction workforce is currently as much as 88 per cent male, we cannot continue this way and expect to meet our country’s growing need for housing.

When you start getting to know the talented, diverse, dedicated and welcoming women in this industry, you’ll see that they are not only opening doors for themselves and their peers, they are framing and installing the doors as well. It has never been better for women, and the industry has never been stronger as a result. Enough of us have gotten in to change the culture and create spaces – beautiful, respectful, and inclusive spaces – for all.

And there has never been a more ideal time for anyone to join. The Ontario government has sponsored free training for those seeking to enter construction through many different organizations including unions and colleges.

My vision as we celebrate National Women in Construction Week is that we not only envision equity in our workplace but that we live and breathe it every day. Women are welcome, wanted, and needed in construction, and it’s a message I will be sending loud and clear throughout my tenure as Kingston Home Builders Assocation (KHBA) President.

For more on what makes this such a great time to build a career in construction, check out my President’s Message from our KHBA (virtual) Gala:

This article is sponsored by the Kingston Home Builders Association, who also submitted the content. If you are interested in a Business Feature on Kingstonist, contact [email protected]

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