Professor, Furniture & Cabinet Making, Humber College
Associate Dean of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship & Principal for the Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology
Humber College is making careers in skilled trades more accessible to women, addressing industry demands and diversifying the workforce.
In Ontario, the demand for skilled trades is soaring. To achieve the province’s infrastructure plan to build 1.5 million homes by 2031, the government is projecting a need for more than 100,000 new skilled trades workers in the next 10 years. However, labour shortages are already at an all-time high.
A career in the skilled trades can be incredibly rewarding, offering competitive pay, autonomy in career paths, unparalleled job security, endless professional growth opportunities, and excellent work flexibility catering to diverse lifestyles. Women are finding fulfilling jobs in skilled trades now more than ever. There is a need for diversity in the trades workforce to enhance innovation, creativity, and introduce a comprehensive approach to problem solving.
“Diversifying makes the industry better, and I want women to know there’s a place for us here,” says Elizabeth Sully, a professor of Furniture and Cabinet Making at Humber College. “We’re breaking old stereotypes and contributing to a sector that needs workers.”
Gain employable skills
Humber College is addressing the labour shortage and building a powerful future workforce. The college is expanding its Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology by 16,620 square-feet, allowing for more state-of-the-art learning labs and equipment for additional apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and post-secondary students. The college has also recently introduced the Pathways to the Skilled Trades Program, which is an eight-week fully funded opportunity to get started in trades, as well as several pre-apprenticeship programs that can be subsidized.
“At the Centre, students receive a combination of hands-on training in simulated worksites and classroom theory,” says Michael Auchincloss, associate dean of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship and principal of the Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology. “Under the guidance of industry experts and equipped with top-of-the-line equipment, students establish real-world connections, gain industry-current skills, and graduate ready to build thriving careers.”
“Women should consider skilled trades because there is tremendous job satisfaction,” says Sully. “You need stamina, dexterity, balance, hand-eye coordination, along with conceptual thinking.”
Boosting the future workforce
The college also offers Canada’s largest skilled trade scholarship program, Schulich Builders. Created in response to the worker shortage, it recognizes the importance of skilled trades jobs by offering financial and leadership support. Humber is one of 10 Ontario colleges that was selected to offer funding to support 10 scholarships each year to cover tuition, tools, and living expenses. “We’ve just announced our 10 inaugural recipients,” says Auchincloss, “It’s one of the many ways we’re making skilled trades as accessible as possible to everyone.”
Through their hands-on learning approach and scholarships, Humber College’s skilled trades programming offers career-focused curriculum that teaches students to be responsive to change in an ever-evolving market.
To learn more and apply for the Schulich Builders Scholarship and Humber’s skilled trades programs, visit humber.ca/skilledtrades.