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Diversifying Canada's Skilled Trades

Advancing Women Is Good for Everyone: New HVAC-R Organization

In association with:
In association with:
Nathalie Brooks

Nathalie Brooks

Women in HVACR Canada Co-founder

Jessica-Bannister-hs

Jessica Bannister

Women in HVACR Canada President


Due to a slew of socioeconomic factors, jobs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) are not traditionally regarded as roles for women. For exactly this reason, a forward-thinking group of female industry professionals formulated the new Women in HVAC-R Canada organization. Their mission is to promote the advancement and inclusion of women in these sectors, regardless of whether they’re working with tools on sights or in office positions.

The inception of this organization is timely, as trades industries are facing a future of concerning employee shortages. Unlike many other job fields, the trades are still heavily male dominated, with under five percent of employees being women.1 In a country where 50 percent of the working population is female, the trades are trying to eradicate old stereotypes and establish a welcoming work environment for women.2

Representation matters

Women in HVAC-R Canada is working to do just that – to improve diversity in HVAC-R trades. Their industry-focused, forward-thinking programming is catered to supporting and promoting women. They’ll provide prospective and current tradeswomen with access to course and apprenticeship information, simplifying the process of attaining the technology and skills-based education necessary for a career in trades.

The organization will also offer seminars with industry professionals and opportunities for employers to connect with potential employees. Plus, they already have scholarships lined up for members. “Through our sponsors, we’re building education sessions, networking groups, and mentorships,” says Jessica Bannister, Women in HVAC-R Canada’s President. “Every industry professional we approach is enthusiastic and receptive.”

A tradeswoman herself, Jessica knows that a lack of representation impacts a woman’s choice to join the trades. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” She explains. “My father was in HVAC-R, as is my brother. But it never occurred to me or my family that I could do it, and I think that’s everyone’s stories.”

Stronger together

Women in HVAC-R Canada is using their resources to break these stereotypes and present trade jobs as excellent career options for women. “There’s a misconception that the trades are low-class dirty jobs, which isn’t the case,” says Nathalie Brooks, Women in HVAC-R Canada’s Co-Founder. “These jobs are extremely respectable, and we want young women to see them as a viable job option. There’s prestige to being in the trades.”

There are a variety of jobs that fall under the HVAC-R umbrella, including residential and commercial technicians, working with supplier companies, human resources management, office administration, corporate positions, finance, system engineering, and more. They especially hope to increase education information and accessibility for high school students.

Above all, Women in HVAC-R Canada strives to build a community of support. “Our membership program is open to everyone, male or female, who considers themselves an ally and wants to promote women in these trades,” explains Nathalie.

Unifying and thriving

Determined to reinvigorate the industry, Women in HVAC-R Canada forecasts an optimistic future for the trades where everyone feels included, regardless of gender and race.

“The world is realizing that women have a place in the trades,” Nathalie adds. “Everyone wants to work in a safe space doing a job that fulfills them, but they also want a balanced life. Careers in the trades offer just that.”


References

1Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Labour Force Survey (LFS).” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. December 14, 2021. Accessed December 15, 2021. https://www.statcan.gc.ca/en/survey/household/3701.

2“Women in the Workforce: Canada (Quick Take).” Catalyst. December 15, 2021. Accessed December 15, 2021. https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-the-workforce-canada/.

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