Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be a lawyer, doctor, or whitecollar professional. Think about it, everything from the deepest mine to the furthest space station has been designed, built, and maintained by someone who works with their hands. So why have we as a society overlooked the importance of skilled labour? We have created a problematic shortage and we need workers now.

I have been working in construction for 17 years as a female ironworker and though I love my career, I often wonder why more women have not considered a similar pathway. In 2006, I began volunteering as a mentor to raise awareness of the need for women in the trades. In 2014, I founded KickAss Careers, an organization dedicated to engaging, educating and encouraging youth to consider pathways in skilled trades and technology.

Apprentices and journeyman-level ambassadors represent the KickAss team. They attend events and exhibits to mentor and share their stories of success in the skilled trades while motivating and inspiring thousands of youth, parents, educators, and employers across North America. Our team is grateful for every opportunity to share the skilled trades’ message, especially with young women. Women proved long ago that they have what it takes to succeed in the industry.

In the ongoing effort to recruit and retain a future workforce, it’s important that we include women. KickAss Careers is proud to be partnered with the OCNI STEP program and we look forward to future collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations. We are stronger together.

Dr. Ron Oberth

President & CEO, Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries

In March of 2018, the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) received a grant of nearly $500,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD)’s Skills Catalyst Fund to undertake a program directed towards promoting education and training in skilled trades to youth, women, and Indigenous peoples.

Darryl Spector

Vice Chair, Skills Ontario & President, Promation Nuclear

With the first of four of OPG’s Darlington Refurbishments currently underway and the refurbishment of Bruce Power’s six reactors planned to start in 2020, there will literally be decades of skilled trades work available in the coming future.

Molly Coughlin and Nicole Andrews

Owner, Express HR & S.T.E.P. Facilitator and CEO, IRI & S.T.E.P. Facilitator

The STEP program’s unique approach of collaborating with educators, employers, unions, parents, and students in combination with a creatively-inclusive approach to developing trade skills in youth, women and Indigenous groups has not only begun to address the skilled trades shortage but has brought regional economic relationships closer together.