UA Local 56 Making Space for Women
For more than 125 years the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry – better known as UA – have been offering support and guidance to apprentices and journeypersons alike in Nova Scotia. Today they’re extending that foundation of support to non-traditional tradespeople – starting with women.
The Nova Scotia Office to Advance Women Apprentices opened in 2019 and quickly found an ally in UA Local 56.
“UA Local 56 has been a valuable resource for the Office to Advance Women Apprentices,” Daphne Goodine, the office’s project coordinator says. “They continue to share their knowledge about trends and opportunities in the piping industry in Nova Scotia and are always willing to chat and connect with the office.”
UA are experts in the piping industry, attracting the best welders, HVAC service technicians, steamfitters/pipefitters, plumbers and so much more throughout Canada. UA Local 56, located in Woodside, Dartmouth, immediately stepped up and has helped employ three women apprentices in the first year of partnering with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices.
Greg Pope, training coordinator at UA, says the union is actively trying to diversify its membership and the relationship between them and the office has been a valuable connection in meeting that goal.
“Our partnership will lead to more females entering the pipe trades. The goal for our local is to see more women registered as apprentices, who continue on the pathway to certified journeypersons,” Greg says. “The office will play a key role in this effort by providing support that can enable new female members the best opportunity to succeed in their trade.”
On the Job Experience
One of the first women to avail of the partnership was Candice Gibson, a welder who’d recently moved home to Nova Scotia to be closer to family.
“UA asked me to come into their training facility to demonstrate my skills. I did what I know I’m good at! I welded! The better I welded the more challenges UA put in front of me!,” laughs Candice. “I never thought I would have the chance for unionized work as a welder and now I am beginning my second offshore hitch. I am proud to be welding on the second largest semi-submersible crane vessel in the world off the coast of Sable Island,” Candice says. “This is my dream job and I owe a lot to the staff at Office to Advance Women Apprentices and UA for helping me get here!”
Movin’ on Up
Daphne says the local has also partnered with the Native Council of NS to offer an introductory program to pipe trades as well as other inclusion initiatives, making space in the industry for other marginalized people.
“Bravo to UA Local 56 and their staff for being open and available in supporting the work of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices in Nova Scotia,” says Daphne.
If you’re interested in partnering to diversify the workforce in Nova Scotia, looking to hire, or access the many programs offered by the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, get in touch with Daphne Goodine at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for our mailing list.
[ Photo: UA Trainer with Candice Gibson, Welder ]