About Build Together – Women of the Alberta Building Trades
In Canada, women represent only 4% of the construction trade workforce. In other skilled trades, that number is even smaller. In Alberta, women currently make up almost 8% of the members of BTA’s affiliated trade unions. That speaks to the success of BTA’s ongoing efforts to bring women into the building trades.
A large population of skilled trade workers are gearing up for retirement. Across North America, roughly 40% of tradespeople will need to be replaced in the next 5-10 years. In Canada, an estimated 255,000 skilled construction workers will need to be recruited from outside the construction industry over the next 10 years to compensate for this gap. That number includes some 40,000 skilled trades workers in Alberta.
Many of these additional workers are projected to come from non-traditional populations: women, new Canadians, visible minorities, and Indigenous peoples. The opportunity for women to obtain secure, well-paid middle-class jobs in the skilled trades is enormous.
Build Together Alberta isn’t about, “What can industry do for me?”, this Chapter is about what can we do to give back to the industry that made us who we are? Build Together for me, is about building solidarity, building relationships, building each other up, being the voice of the unheard, breaking down barriers, igniting excitement into our youth, and being a powerful political voice. Build Together Alberta is working toward a better future for the next round of Apprentices that will one day fill our boots- a responsibility we take seriously.
Build Together is not just about women building communities to support their families, it’s also about building a foundation for future women, building a group of strong women who support each other and building an understanding of diversity in the work force. I love Build Together and the sisters it brought me!
Build Together to me, means being a part of something that stands up for equal opportunity for women and under-represented groups in the trades. Being able to prove that there are hard working women in the industry, and break the stereotypes about women working the the trades is crucial if we want to recruit and retain more women in the industry. The construction culture is in need of a change, and it’s inspiring to be a part of it.
Build Together Programs
For many years, the BTA and its affiliated unions have been industry leaders in supporting recruitment and retention efforts to increase the number of women in the skilled construction trades. Through the Alberta Council of Turnaround Industry Maintenance Stakeholders (ACTIMs), we offer scholarships specifically for women entering the trades in addition to other scholarships open to female candidates.
We focus not just on attracting women to the skilled trades but also getting industry to look at women as an OPTION. Our work includes career planning, challenging stereotypes, and participating in industry events, from tradeshows and career fairs to school presentations and networking.
Build Together Sponsors
Build Together is a national workforce development program initiated by Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU). Build Together now has chapters across the country. Alberta was one of the first Chapters (Build Together – Women of the Alberta Building Trades) and has been operating since 2015, but our efforts to bring women into the building trades date back much further.