SAINT JOHN, NB – Nine new graduates will join the ranks of the growing number of New Brunswick women choosing a career in the skilled trades. The Skilled Trades Exploration Program for Women’s class of 2021 (STEPW) marked the completion of their studies with a ceremony at NBCC-Saint John today.
In partnership with the Government of New Brunswick, STEP provides training and career opportunities for under-represented groups (women, indigenous, immigrants, people with disabilities, youth) interested in pursuing a career in a skilled trade. It is a 16-week training program that enables its participants to explore a specific trade (at either an NBCC or CCNB campus), as well as to receive safety and essential skills training.
“Partnerships like the one we have with J.D. Irving, Limited allow us to truly diversify the provincial trades workforce and offer women great career opportunities, right here in our province,” says Hélène Savoie-Louis, MAP Strategic Workforce Services Inc. Executive Director.
Over half of this year’s graduates will begin paid apprenticeships with J.D. Irving, Limited this summer. Participating companies will include CFM, Gulf Operators, Universal Truck and Trailer, JDI Sawmills and Woodlands divisions. Each will provide continuous work placements as apprentices work through the blocks and have a guaranteed job upon successful completion.
“As a company, we are focused on investing in the talent and potential of our people, as well as on recruiting new graduates and offering them the opportunity to step directly into a career,” said Jim Irving, co-CEO of JD. Irving, Limited. “We’ve been proud to be associated with STEPW and pleased to hire and work alongside its graduates.”
In 2020, J.D. Irving, Limited sponsored the first class of nine women who completed their STEPW exploration program and then recruited them into jobs at the company.
Currently JDI employs 69 skilled tradeswomen in its operations and is committed to growing that number. Over the next three years, JDI forecasts hiring a total of 242 skilled trades in New Brunswick.
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