PROVINCE ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR UNLOCKING THE TOOLKIT GIRLS FORUM SERIES
The Manitoba government is partnering with school divisions and industry sectors to host a series of forums in Winnipeg, Beausejour and The Pas encouraging girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and other non-traditional skilled trades, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.
“There is a shortage of women in STEM and non-traditional skilled trades in Manitoba, and we want girls to know these rewarding professions are worth considering as long-term careers,” said Squires. “The Unlocking the Toolkit Girls Forum is a great opportunity for girls to learn about these trades and engage in fun activities developed and demonstrated by women who currently work in these fields.”
The forum series kicks off today at Bernie Wolfe School in the River East Transcona School Division (RETSD), where 70 Grade 5 and 6 girls will be assigned to groups led by high school-aged mentors. The groups will be guided through seven stations where they will participate in hands-on activities designed and facilitated by a tradeswoman or scientist including a plumber/pipefitter, carpenter, electrician, virtual-reality game developers, mason and engineer.
“We partnered with the government to organize a similar event in 2015 and we’re very excited to be back as host of the first of these three Unlocking the Toolkit Girls Forums. We know the activities the girls will be engaged in today could be the spark that helps them decide down the road to pursue careers in the trades. We’re pleased to be part of this initiative,” says Colleen Carswell, board chair, RETSD.
Other partners in the project include Manitoba Women in Construction, Women in Science and Engineering, Skills Canada Manitoba and the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC). Information sessions for teachers will also be offered.
“The Manitoba Construction Sector Council supports the need to promote careers in construction to underrepresented groups, such as women,” said La Donna Ogungbemi-Jackson, director, education and training, MCSC. “We’re excited to participate in the Unlocking the Toolkit Girls Forum because it provides students, especially girls, the opportunity to consider non-traditional careers through experiential activities and interactions with female role models.”
Labour market analysis in Manitoba projects 13,000 job openings in trades, transport and equipment operator occupations between 2016 and 2019. The minister noted girls continue to be underrepresented in non-traditional trades training and post-secondary science, technology, engineering and math programs.
“Research supports that early educational decisions, such as whether or not to pursue higher level math and science courses, affect future career opportunities, so it’s important to reach girls early to make sure they’re aware of their options,” said Squires.
The next Unlocking the Toolkit Girls Forums will be taking place in Beausejour on Nov. 15 and at University College of the North in The Pas on Nov. 22.